A few weeks ago, I mentioned in my bulletin article that we had not at that point received the fourth quarter numbers for our investments. Now that we have received them, I can report that we received over $9,000 in donations for our school endowment in the fourth quarter, bringing the year-end amount to $135,428. In order to protect these funds, we have them in very low-risk investments. For this reason, we do not see much fluctuation from quarter to quarter. Our vocation endowment earned $3,626 during the quarter, bringing its year-end value to $130,802. Lastly, our parish investments grew by almost $26,000 in the fourth quarter, showing a year-end total of $529,507.
Many thanks to those who have come to me with their feedback regarding our long-term planning process. While I do not have any major updates at this point, I am hoping to have some more information in the near future. In the meantime, unexpected maintenance repairs are continuing to pop up. A sink in one of the bathrooms of the Antwerp Center is no longer functional. A plumber came to examine what needs to be done, but he was unwilling to take on the project because it requires cutting into the wall in order to find out exactly where the problem is and what would need to be done to address it. Also, one of the gutters on the Paulding Ed Center will need to be at least patched in order to stop a leak. Lastly, at the Payne church, the concrete on the handicap ramp and the sacristy steps will need to be addressed. Both are breaking apart where the handrails are screwed in due to water damage.
As we continue through Lent, please keep our long-term planning process in your prayers. I know this discussion is uncomfortable for many, but at the end of the day, we have to do what is best for the long-term sustainability of our parish. Many parishioners have expressed to me that no one would operate a business in the same way that we currently operate as a parish, considering the high maintenance expenses that we take on and the continued decline of our parish and county population. Of course, a parish is not a business in the usual sense of that term. But, being good stewards of what we have forces us to consider 1) if we can actually afford what we are doing, and 2) whether we are actually accomplishing our mission as a parish. If all of our efforts are focused solely on buildings, can we honestly say that we are using our resources wisely to care for souls, to evangelize, and to grow as a parish?
In a recent conversation with some parishioners about the long-term planning, one parishioner said, “We need to do whatever is best for the faith of the people.” In response, another parishioner answered him, saying, “Yes, but we should be able to make that happen from any one of our campuses.” Amen!
Blessings to you as we continue through Lent,