Financial Appeal from Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P. (11/21/2010)
Dear Parishioners of St. Gertrude Church,
Sometime this week you will receive in the mail a report on the Financial Stewardship of our parish. I encourage you to take the time to read this very important report and familiarize yourself with our current financial situation.
We are very blessed here at St. Gertrude because nearly 78% of our registered parishioners contribute financially to our parish. This healthy percentage of giving not only speaks to the commitment of its members but to the sense of financial responsibility of the entire parish. My desire is not only to encourage our contributing parishioners to prayerfully consider what they are currently giving, but to also encourage the 22% who for whatever reason do not give, to consider a weekly contribution to help the parish in whatever financial way they can.
Like most parishes, the majority of our funding comes from the Sunday envelope contributions, stock donations and bequests. Given the size of our parish community of over 2100 families, we are actually staffed quite lean. I am committed to watching all our expenses and will keep a very tight lid on spending at this time.
The parish currently owes $4,950,000. The yearly interest on this loan is approximately $200,000. No matter what we think about this debt, it is debt, and all of us together as a parish community need to address it.
St. Gertrude Parish is faced with two different financial scenarios that I would like to explain: The first scenario is that we would like to see the $200,000 debt interest absorbed by our regular Sunday envelope contributions. If we are able to raise these additional funds in our regular weekly collection, we can use the capital campaign fund we presently have on hand to pay the principal only. Assuming we can achieve this level of giving, our accumulated capital campaign fund will last another five years. This would allow for us to postpone planning another capital campaign until 2015 to keep our obligations to the bank. In our current economic climate, it only makes sense to try to postpone the planning of another campaign until 2015. In order to accomplish this goal, our weekly contributions need to reflect the increase now. Our present budget has already anticipated this, and we are presently $60,000 in deficit from what we need to achieve this goal.
If we are not able to raise the additional $200,000 from our regular envelope contributions, the second scenario presents itself. We will have to remove money from our capital campaign fund to make our interest payments on the loan, thus depleting the fund much faster. This would mean that as your Pastor, I would have to come to the parish much sooner to speak to you about another capital campaign. I really do not want to do this.
Thus I am asking all our families to prayerfully consider increasing your giving to our parish by an additional $5 per week. In 2009-2010, 1,642 families participated in the weekly parish offering. If everyone of these families gave S5 more per week, we would increase our level of giving by $427,000, a substantial increase that would allow us not only to cover the interest payment on the loan. but continue to make capital improvements to our parish complex.
The St. Gertrude Parish Finance Committee, the Stewardship Office and Committee, along with Pastoral Council and myself ask each of you to make a choice concerning the financial stability of this parish. By all of us working together to reach this goal, our parish will continue to thrive and do the good work that has become tradition here and the center of our lives and our community. I hope and pray that each of our families will see the wisdom of our plan and make a decision to increase your giving to the parish by $5 per week.
Wishing you all God's blessings,
Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P.