One of the onuses of being a pastor is the administrative work that is entailed in overseeing a parish, particularly a parish of our size, just short of 5500 registered households. The day to day operation of an organization the size of Precious Blood Parish can be daunting especially given the fact that we have two churches, a school and convent building as well as a cemetery. Thankfully, I do not have to do this alone. I am assisted by a competent and supportive staff, both clergy and laity, and while it can appear to be overwhelming to me, it really is not.
Last Sunday the Finance Council met to review the results of the past year and to approve the budget for the current year. Overall, the fiscal state of the parish is good. Your financial support of the parish has been quite generous, as it always has been. We have been careful in the expenditure of money, spending money as needed on repairs and improvements to the parish plants. A report on the financial state of our parish will be given at all Masses the weekend of March 17-18.
A question has been raised, and it is a good one. What is the purpose of the monthly collection? To be quite frank, I am not sure how the monthly collection originated. It dates back far into the history of the former St. Mary’s Parish and may have been started as a building fund to pay for the construction of the current church, school and convent on Gulf Street back in the late 1950's and early 1960's. It could have originated earlier for other reasons. The people at St. Agnes have not had a monthly collection, at least in their recent parish history, if ever. Now, since we have to normalize the collection schedule for the entire parish, a monthly collection is taken in both churches.
I am not a fan of extra collections, but most of them, save the monthly collection, are mandated by the Archdiocese or the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All of them aim to support worthy causes and important dimensions of the mission of the Church here at home as well as around the world. As for the monthly collection, we simply cannot do without it. The annual proceeds of the monthly collection, which last year reached around $90,000, approximates the annual expenditures needed for ongoing maintenance and repair of the parish facilities. The regular Sunday and holy day collections cover salaries and benefits for our staff, clergy and laity alike, as well as the support required from each parish by the Archdiocese, the subsidy of the parish school the religious education program, insurance costs, what can be deemed the “bread and butter” aspects of the parish budget. In any event, I am cognizant of your sacrifices on behalf of the parish and I am grateful for your support.
Please remember in prayer the medical mission team which is in Marbial, Haiti this week, doing essential and Christ-like work for the people of our sister parish, St. Therese. In just seven days, the team will perform a number of critical surgical procedures and conduct a large number of checkups. We ask God’s blessing on their work and a safe trip home from Haiti next weekend. I thank all who so generously support that part of our parish mission outreach.
Please remember that next weekend, Daylight Savings Time begins. Before you retire next Saturday evening, set your clocks AHEAD one hour. We all might be a bit tired next Sunday morning but the longer daylight hours will be certainly appreciated.