Bulletin Letter August 30

Dear Parishioners,                                                                                                                                     +JMJ

A pastor of a parish is required at least once a year to make a financial disclosure to the parish. For the last couple of parishes that I pastored, this disclosure was most easily made by publishing in the bulletin the fiscal end-of-year balance sheet and profit-and-loss statement. Last year this disclosure did not happen, because we were in the midst of great transition in the finance office, including a standard audit performed by the diocese upon the arrival of a new pastor. With this bulletin letter and the accompanying reports in this bulletin, I am making that annual disclosure. The diocese’s fiscal year runs from July 1st through the following June 30th, so included in this bulletin you have the balance sheet and profit-and-loss statement from June 30, 2015. You also have a list of major repairs made during that time.

Here are some major items of note from the “Functional Statement of Activities” (i.e., the condensed form of our end-of-year profit-and-loss statement):

-[line 41000] Most parishes with schools know that a school will be its largest expense of the year. Tuition receipts ($87,702) are up $9,074 from the prior year, and we still have $8,476 outstanding tuition that has not yet been collected. We are using a collection agency now to handle outstanding debts that we cannot otherwise collect upon. We will be raising the tuition by 5% this coming year, a suggestion made by the school board.

-[line 44000] The parish provided a total subsidy to the school for the year of $127,702. This was the amount that overall school expenses exceeded school income from tuition and other donations and special receipts, such as mandated services ($23,760) and a small subsidy from the Diocese. The average parish subsidy per student then ends up being about $2,800.

-[line 51000] Christmas and Easter collections were down from the prior year overall $6,700.

-[line 57000] Sunday and holy-day-of-obligation collections were down from the prior year overall $ 14,625 (About $1,220 per month). There are several holy days of obligation that fell on or close to a weekend, which takes away their obligatory nature, in turn greatly reducing the number of people who come to Mass on those days. This phenomenon certainly affects our holy-day-of-obligation collections, but it is really beyond our control.

-[line 64000] Parish charities expenses were significantly increased over the past year, especially since we gave out about $15,000 from our mission account. Most of those funds had been collected in prior fiscal years, but not dispersed.

-[line 64000] Religious education expenses were up about $7,000 over the prior year, due to the purchase of some new textbooks, the subscription fee for YDisciple and some other changes in the program. But we also received a large donation to offset some of the costs in our youth work.

-[line 68000] Building expenses (for utilities and other repairs) were up $11,368 over previous years. Using ordinary parish funds, we accomplished $24,202 in repairs.

-[line 81000] Capital expenses/repairs over this past fiscal year cost $141,001. The attached chart of renovations and repairs list the major projects. These projects were accomplished by monies specifically designated for those projects. The fact that the money was designated in a prior fiscal year, but finally spent in this last fiscal year made it appear we were spending way beyond our means. But, in fact, the money collected for those specific projects could only be used on those projects. There was no reason not to accomplish the repairs in the same fiscal year, which is what we did.

Here are some highlights from the June 30, 2015 Balance Sheet:

-[line 11310] As of the end of June, we had $31,604 in our main checking account, the account used for the majority of our ordinary operations.

-[line 1141001] As of the end of June, we had $281,393 in our diocesan savings. Some of this money is restricted for specific purposes: e.g., $8,000 given to us specifically to be spent on our youth program; about $3,000 given to us specifically to be spent on repair of the sound systems at Payne and Paulding; $6,000 given to us specifically to be spent on our one remaining un-repaired parking lot (Payne), and $10,000 given for new Paulding rectory siding.

I think the rest of the balance sheet is pretty self-explanatory. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Dianne Jones or me for more explanations and more details.

With this annual financial disclosure, it is timely to make a couple of suggestions. I am afraid that this coming fiscal year we will still be living a bit beyond our means with ordinary operating expenses. Some of the personnel changes in the parish office and the school will reduce operating expenses in the coming school year, but I am afraid we still will not bring in enough money to cover normal operating expenses. So here are a couple of ideas to consider prayerfully: If it has been a long time since you have increased your giving to the parish, would you consider giving a bit more each week and on holidays? We have to give parish and school employees at least a very modest increase in wage/salary each fiscal year, and we have to face increasing utility costs and all kinds of other operating/repair cost increases yearly, just as normal homeowners do. If our costs are going up each year, but our collections are not, we will have to find new ways to cut expenses.

A second idea to consider: We have available the option for regular electronic withdrawal from personal bank accounts. This is a great way to contribute to the parish even on those weekends when you are going to the lake or some other vacation spot. We still have to cover normal operating expenses when parishioners are away. I am noticing, for example, that the summer weekly collections are lower than the collections during the academic year. I think this is simply because people are away at summer getaways, so they attend Mass at other churches.

Having said that, I would be remiss not to recognize how generous our parishioners already are, especially when there is a specific large project before us. [The problem is trying responsibly to budget for gifts – never an easy task!] I trust that we are all trying to be good stewards with our finances, and that we are all asking the Lord how much it is prudent to donate to the parish. Prudence dictates the duty of love/charity. [Lest I leave anybody questioning whether the pastor is giving his fair share, please know that I also feel obliged as a priest to give significantly from my own personal income. The witness of generous parishioners – giving their time, talent and, yes, treasure too – makes it pretty easy for me to give as well.] I will continue to try responsibly to manage the parish funds we have. I am very grateful for everybody who helps in this regard: from the money counters to the office staff to the finance council members.

Have a great week!

In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,

Fr. Poggemeyer