This week marks the end of our annual Sacrificial Giving Renewal. It also marks the start of a process of consultation, study, and decision-making for our parish leadership. This past Tuesday members of our Pastoral Council and its subcommittee on engagement met with Dr. Albert Winseman, a consultant from Gallup, to go over Gallup’s report to us on the results of the recent Member Engagement Survey (ME25). The entire Pastoral Council will meet Monday evening to consider the results of the survey and the recommendations of the subcommittee. By next weekend the survey results will be available on the parish website; and you’ll be hearing from me over the coming weeks about the Council’s recommendations for parish life and activities that flow from the survey’s results.
The Pastoral and Finance Councils will also be reviewing the parish budget and the collections that result from our sacrificial giving renewal. If it continues to appear that we won’t make our budget (you can see on the Stewardship page of the Bulletin each week how we’re doing with regard to our new goal for Sunday offerings, $27,565, an average increase of $11 per week per household), I will consult with them on changes to programming that will bring us back within budget. We need to continue to do the work Christ charges us with – changing lives through His power, especially through worship, formation for young people, and care for the poor. The survey will help us to do those things in the most effective way, using your financial gifts to the parish to maximum effect.
I thank the 955 parishioners who completed the survey this past month. Your opinions will matter a great deal in our future. And I thank those of you who have made a commitment to sacrificial giving during our renewal. (You can see the numbers of commitments on the video-monitor in the lobby by the church doors.) I especially appreciate those of you who have chosen to give electronically – you’ll be receiving your electronic giver’s pin and a supply of offering cards soon, if you haven’t already. (The pin is illustrated at left.)
As I said last spring in the State of the Parish report, we’re in a new situation and we need to do things differently. The Financial Report (reprinted in summary in today’s Bulletin and available in full form on the parish website), shows that we can’t afford to scatter the limited resources we have – every dollar has to do its full work for our mission. We may be at a point – only your giving can tell us – at which we simply can’t afford to have the sort of parish we’ve been accustomed to. If that’s the case we’ll have to make significant changes in how we provide worship, formation, and charity.
What’s your role as our parish leaders begin this time of reappraisal? First, of course, pray for their wisdom and courage. Embrace wholeheartedly whatever recommendations emerge in the first stages of our implementing the results of the ME25 report. And, if you haven’t yet, take the steps I’ve been recommending during our financial giving renewal:
- 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 me, and 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.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving; please join in the Mass Wednesday evening or Thursday. Until next week, peace.