My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
May the Peace of the Risen Christ be with you!
On July 1, 2018, the parish began a new fiscal year. In reviewing the parish’s financial books for the fiscal year just completed, I found both good news and bad news.
The good news is that that the people of this parish who attend Mass on Sunday have continued to be good stewards in supporting your parish. While we are not a wealthy parish, we were to end the year in the black. For the first time in a long time we were able to pay off the past debt to the diocese in back assessments and insurance fees and at the same time stay current. That is the good news.
The bad news is that not every family registered in the parish is doing what God asks of them in the Sacred Scriptures to give their tithe back to Him. Of the 3,000 plus families registered in the parish, only about 250 families on average use the parish envelopes or give on line. This means that 7.8% of the registered families gave 100% of the total amount collected in the Sunday offertory envelope collections. One can only wonder how much could be collected in the other 2,750 families would use their envelopes and tithe.
More good news is that more people are putting their faith in God and taking His Word to heart by tithing (giving 10% of their total income back to God –Scripture mentions tithing 46 times. cf. Genesis 14; Genesis 28:20-22; Phil 4:19; Luke 21:1-4). If you tithe, you know firsthand what the Lord does and will do for you in return. You also have the satisfaction that you are doing what the Lord asks of you. If you do not tithe, let me invite you to be open to the Word of God and begin to tithe. It is sad that a large number of the people who come to Mass on Sunday have gotten into the habit of giving God their leftovers by reaching into their pockets or purses and putting their loose change or a dollar bill of so into the offertory collection. Remember that one-dollar will not even buy a half of a gallon of gasoline or a loaf of bread!
Tithing is not something I dreamed up. It is what God Himself tells us to do. I ask you do nothing more than what I I do. Tithing has become a very important part of my spiritual life. I can tell you that since I started tithing, God has blessed me in many ways.
I know that some of you are thinking that all I want is more money and, while I admit that more money would help us meet our financial responsibilities as a parish, and help us better maintain our parish plant, that is not the reason I invite you to tithe. I do so only because that is what God tells us to do in the Bible.
Every year we have to pay a diocesan assessment of12.5% of our income. We also have to pay the diocese 3% of our income to cover the cost of the infirm priests and support the retired priests. On top of that we pay roughly $30,000 in property insurance. Of our total expenses, 24.4% of our income went for subsidy for our parish school and 16% went to support the CCD program, adult education, and the Life Teen Program. A total of 40.4% went toward Religious Education.
In regards to the school, let me say that the parish subsidized each child about $1,000 in order to keep the tuition rate affordable for the average family.
More good news comes from the Legacy of Faith – Future of Hope campaign for the Diocese. Many of you have been faithful in making payments on your pledges. The parish receives 20% of every dollar paid to this campaign. All of this went to make necessary repairs to the parish plant. If you have fallen behind, please consider starting making your payments this month. Many of you also made pledges to the annual Bishop’s Stewardship Appeal and been faithful in meeting your pledge obligations. The parish goal for the BSA is mandatory. So it is important that you give the amount that you pledged. If we do not collect our goal, the balance will be taken from the Sunday collections and this will put us in a pinch.
As we reflect on the fiscal year that we just completed, we, as a parish community, can be proud of what we have been able to accomplish; but there is so much more that we can do as we work to evangelize, to bring people to a closer relationship with the Lord Jesus. As we begin this new fiscal year, I invite each member of the parish to make a self-examination to see if you are giving what God asks of you. If you find that you are, please continue doing what you are doing. If you are not, please consider making a change and begin to work toward keeping God’s Word and become a tithing member of the Parish Community of Ss. Cyril and Methodius. You are strongly encouraged to use your Sunday envelopes or to give on line. To give on line, please go to the parish web page at sscmc.org. The more of you who give on line means that the parish pays less out to cover the costs of sending out the envelopes.
May the Lord continue to bless you as you strive to do His will.