As I write I haven’t yet received the official report on Msgr. McNamara’s visit (the results of which I’ll share with you when I get it). But I’m taking today to share with the wider parish some of the things parish leadership prepared and experienced. Overall, I believe he was quite impressed by the way our parish has not only recovered from the pain of the reorganization twenty months ago, but has begun to prosper.
Let’s look at finances, first, since without your financial support nothing else is possible. Here’s a chart of our income & expenses for the past fifteen years. (Income is the solid line, expenses the dashed line.) As you can see, our recovery these past two years has been remarkable as we brought our activities into line with what we can afford. (The income peak in 2005 was the sale of the back fields; the extra income in 2011-12 was the rent from the use of our rooms by South Bay School.) We’ve paid off more than half our overdue bills, and hope to pay the rest off by the end of this summer.
Here’s a chart of average annual Sunday giving per person coming to Mass over that same time period; note that the amounts are per person, not per family. I think it’s pretty amazing, and it’s a sign of parishioners’ dedication to keeping our parish alive and flourishing. You’ve probably also noted that, even with the blizzard at the end of January we’re still on track with Sunday sacrificial giving, thanks to parishioners’ generosity.
The heart of things is, of course our mission: the money isn’t to entertain us, but to do the work Christ has charged us with. And here’s where I think the most amazing thing happened during Msgr. McNamara’s visit, from what I heard from parish leaders after the meeting. The heart of what people talked about was the spirit of the parish, inviting people and engaging people! It seems as if we as a parish truly have moved from what I a few years ago called “a culture of complaint” into a “culture of affirmation.” You can feel it in the spirit of people – volunteers who not only enjoy their ministries but want to make connections with others in theirs, to see how they can grow and serve together, to take just one example.
The turnaround we’ve experienced is a testimony to the Holy Spirit working in our midst. It’s wonderful and it’s gratifying, but there’s more to be done. More about that next week. Until then, peace.
P.S. Don’t forget to strengthen your own faith and our parish even more by taking part in the parish Lenten Mission which begins next week! Look for details further on in today’s Bulletin. 2.21.16