Friday, November 6, 2015

Stewardship and Stewardship Sunday

On this weekend, I will be speaking about stewardship and parish income. Our income in both parishes has significantly decreased over the past three years.

  • I have displayed the revenue for the past five years.  
  • Envelope income is the money that people have contributed to the parishes in an envelope or electronically or in some way that we are able to recognize the amount and the donor (e.g. a person writes their envelope number on the check).
  • Plate income is money placed in the basket on Sunday without an envelope or any way of knowing the source of the income.  
  • The total column represents envelope and plate added together.
  • A parish’s disposable income is basically envelope and plate, the money that can be counted upon each week to operate the parish.  Parishes like homes and families must budget and plan based on knowing how much income is available.
  • Extraordinary donations are always appreciated and often now fund what should be paid for from envelope and plate.  However, just as no family or business will budget based on unexpected income, so too a parish can budget responsibly only based on envelope and plate.
  • It is clear that income to both parishes has diminished over the past five years.  Some of the decrease can certainly be attributed to the passing away of generous parishioners or due to others who have moved.  I have no scientific method of determining the other causes for the decrease.
  • The downward trend must stop and be replaced with an increase in income.
  • If the downward trend is not reversed, then changes in the operation of the parishes will be required.  What would be affected if there is not an increase in income?  Here is what your donations currently fund:
    • Pastoral salaries
    • Catechetical programs
    • Subsidies to Immaculate Heart Central
    • Pastoral care
    • Reduction in energy use e.g. air conditioning and heating
    • Who knows what else
  • What must happen:
    • Envelope and electronic donors must look at their current giving and prayerfully determine whether a greater gift can be given weekly to the parish.  A simple question: When was the last time your income increased? When was the last time you increased your giving to the parish?
    • Envelope users should commit to making up their weekly donations when they are away and attend Mass at another parish.
    • Those currently not using envelopes should use envelopes.  There are two major reasons to use envelopes.  First, envelope use is a visible commitment to support the parish.  Second, envelope use prompts donors to give more.

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