Last spring when I talked about the new situation our parish is in and the resulting need to make some changes so that we can continue to do Christ’s work, not a few parishioners asked me afterward, “What can I do?” Over the summer I suggested each week some ways parishioners could invest their time and talents, and some people responded and trained for work in parish ministries. Now, in our Sacrificial Giving Renewal, I’d like to spell out my answer to that “What can I do” question for every parishioner who has an income, student to retiree. You can – should – do these things:
- Take stock of what you’re now giving in financial support for our parish communion. Figure it as a percentage of your weekly, monthly, or annual income – whichever makes the most sense to you.
- Ask yourself (and any others who share your life and finances), Is this a responsible share in God’s work, based on what God gives to me and on the other obligations I have?
- Make a plan to give for the coming year, based on what you decide. If it’s possible for you, commit to giving electronically (you can learn more about this on the Stewardship page of this week’s Bulletin). If you choose not to do that, commit to using the weekly envelope if you don’t do that now. In any case, have a weekly reminder of your commitment to give.
- Begin right now to give in the way that you’ve planned.
- Let your sacrifice change you and bring you closer to Christ. Trust me: It will happen, most likely in ways you never would have imagined.
(You’ll see people wearing the button at the right, and you may see people dropping cards with that image into the collection basket: those are parishioners who have chosen to give electronically.)
It may simply be impossible for enough parishioners to give enough to keep our present level of services. If we discover that’s the case between now and Christmas, there will be some changes beginning in January. As I mentioned two weeks ago:
- I will ask the diocese not to replace Fr. Ruben when he leaves us in June, since we cannot afford to support three priests. This will mean fewer weekday and Sunday Masses and the loss of other services by priests after June;
- The parish office will be open fewer hours as staff is reduced and reassigned;
- The parish subsidy to Parish Social Ministry will be reduced (cuts will also be made in other parish departments);
- Tuition in Faith Formation, and fees for Angel Care and Day Care will rise;
- There will be fewer decorations in the church for feasts.
The Pastoral Council and Finance Council will be monitoring carefully what parishioners can give between now and Christmas. If it appears we can support our present level of services, we will. (Our target for the weekly collection, to make up past deficits and lower giving to date, has to be $27,565 – an average increase in giving of $11 per week per household.) If that appears impossible, the shape of our parish will begin to change dramatically. We will maintain the core of our life: worship of God, care for the poor (as we are able), and support for parents in forming their children in the faith. How we do that will come clear over the next few months. More in this article.