Father David’s Letter
Dear Friends in Christ,
Last Sunday I gave what I sometimes call my annual “Sermon on the Amount.” It’s just a title, even if a catchy one, and there was no particular amount I was highlighting. In my talk I began by speaking about Zaccheus the chief tax collector and how he gives us an excellent example of stewardship and the attitude we should have when making a return to the Lord.
I touched briefly on my role as pastor of being the canonical treasurer of the parish, but not its president or owner. You and I are not technically owners but stewards of all the property that constitutes the physical parish of St. Mary.
I then expounded on our essential connection to the larger Church, specifically to our community Catholic grade school, the regional Catholic high school, and the Rockford Diocese. I reminded you that we are a branch on the vine, not a vine unto ourselves. We as a parish don’t exist on our own, as I being a parish priest do not exist on my own; we are bonded to the larger Church, and ultimately to the Universal Church. Having this bigger perspective keeps in our minds the blessings that come from being a part of a bigger puzzle, as well as the responsibilities that lay upon our shoulders to do our part for the whole. Part of that responsibility is our financial commitment to all these institutions. We gave over $90,000 to our grade school Montini last fiscal year, and over $40,000 to the high school Marian. We had a Diocesan Stewardship goal of $43,000 last year, of which almost $36,000 was paid in individual donations and over $7,000 was taken from our regular collections. As you can see our commitment to the larger Church is very much a part of our identity as a Catholic parish.
I told you that I understand some of your difficulties with the annual Diocesan Appeal, but I also encouraged you to move beyond those challenges to a more positive and personal approach to it. Either way it is our responsibility to help with this every year, so in that sense we don’t have a choice. What we do have a choice in is how we embrace it.
I then gave an update where the parish is financially. I mentioned on the whole we did well, as verified in the profit and loss printout in the bulletin last week. I commended you for your consistent generosity and faithful financial stewardship.
I did state we had to take out a $21,000 loan from Rockford last July, and I explained this was mainly because we did not meet our Diocesan Stewardship goal and we paid more than double in snow removal and grounds maintenance last year, to the tune of $35,000. I then noted this loan is currently mostly paid off, but in its place there is a slowly growing deficit of about $15,000.
I know the talk was long – I told you it would be – and it wasn’t all uplifting, but it was the truth. The truth, as Our Lord says, can set us free. I hope knowing the truth of the very real financial challenge that we face will wake us up to be even more committed to doing what each of us can to gather a harvest of treasure. Contribute to the Diocesan Appeal, participate in our fundraising events, bring forth new and creative ideas for raising and saving funds, and perhaps step up our own sacrificial giving just a bit.
I concluded with a note of warning not to become complacent in our approach to financial stewardship, and finally with a word of hope founded on the prayerful devotion and generous response that you consistently demonstrate. With Our Lord’s blessing, Our Lady’s help, and each of our involvement, we will prevail.
Sincerely in Christ,
St. Mary’s 125th Anniversary Celebration is well on its way!
From August 15, 2019 thru August 15, 2020, you can order you St. Mary T-Shirt that portrays the image of our Blessed Mother as rendered by a 2019 Montini graduate and St. Mary parishioner, Rebecca Bodden! There’s more than just T-Shirts to choose from. Go to this link to order choice of style and sizes: https://inktothepeople.com/st-mary-catholic-church-125th-anniversary-/
Here’s something to SMILE about! 🙂
St. Mary’s Church is now connected with AMAZON.SMILE! What is Amazon.Smile? Amazon is dedicated to giving back to charitable organizations like our parish. When you buy online at Amazon, you have the opportunity to have .05% of your purchases donated to St. Mary’s by Amazon. When you sign up for AmazonSmile, you’ll be asked to select from over a million of charities to support. But you can skip this step and click on our unique link. Then you’ll be taken to smile.amazon.com and then automatically asked if you want to support St Mary Church. Our unique charity link: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/36-2182123
Don’t forget to sign up for St. Mary’s MyParish App today!
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to enhance your spiritual life and get updates on what’s happening at St. Mary!Just text App to phone number 88202 or visit myparishapp.com to download. St. Mary’s will not automatically beone of your choices because we are a national parish which means we have no boundaries. Just type in St. Mary 1407 and the site will be available for you to click on and join. Keep yourself up to date on parish events, daily readings, messages, Pope Francis messages, and programs to enhance your faith journey.