All of Us – #119

Immaculate Conception St. Joseph Parishes Catholic Church Chicago

Another Way Of Looking At Things

Parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago publish a yearly financial report so that parishioners have a clear understanding on how their donations and resources are being used to support the ministry and mission of Jesus Christ. Such financial transparency helps parishioners to acknowledge the generosity and blessings of those who have been faithful stewards of their time, talents and resources. A financial report can also identify the challenges and opportunities that need to be addressed so that a parish can effectively serve the needs of the community.

What has surfaced from the recent conversations at our Parish Transformation meetings is that there is a need to report the finances of Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph by showing our overall income in conjunction with shared expenses.

Canonically we are two distinct parishes and we are required to submit individual financial reports to the Archdiocese for each parish. However, the everyday reality is that Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parishes operate jointly as one faith community that is managed and ministered to by one pastor and professional staff; with programs and ministries that equally encompass both parishes.

IC+SJ Combined Collections

IC+SJ Combined Collections

After listening to this helpful feedback from parishioners, I asked the Finance Committee this year to prepare a consolidated financial report for Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parishes. Yes, this is a different way of looking at things. But, a consolidated report gives a more accurate picture as to what financially comes in and what goes out when serving nearly 650 households that represent both parishes. This is a less complicated approach that helps us to see the big picture of serving one faith community, and better understand our overall financial status.

IC+SJ Weekly Offering Numbers

On a monthly basis, through the bulletin, we will continue to show how our Parish Operating Budget is doing. We closely track our Sunday collections in relationship to what we need every week to “collectively” pay our bills and the salaries of our employees.

The top graph, at the right, tracks the history of the income for our parishes over the last 4 years. The collective income for Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parishes has decreased by 5.5% since 2012.

IC+SJ Weekly Offering Numbers

IC+SJ Weekly Offering Numbers

You will also see in the report that at the end of the last fiscal year, on June 30, 2015, our parishes shared a deficit of ($ 78,825.) This operating deficit was added to our existing debt.

We continue to make significant improvements toward reaching a balanced budget. In the past year, the overall expenses of our parishes decreased by$86,416. Although the parish school contributes to the overall bottom-line, it is important for us to view the church operations on a “stand-alone basis.” The parish does not provide a direct subsidy to the school.

Note that the archdiocese deferred our annual loan payment of $240,000 so that the parish would have cash on hand to pay its bills. However, we still have an obligation to pay back the money we previously borrowed.

Our total mass attendance for the weekend, for both parishes, is an average of535 parishioners. The pie chart and lower chart show the average level of Sunday offertory giving by parishioners. As you can see, 63% of our parishioners give less than$10 a week. In that group,  44% of parishioners give less than$5 a week. Overall, only 24% of registered parishioners make a regular contribution.

Growing In Faith

It is my hope and dream that one day we will see Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parishes running together in the black, and operating with a balanced budget.

I ask for each family to prayerfully reflect upon the invitation to increase their weekly contributions. God calls us to be good stewards of what has been entrusted to us. Your generosity will help to sustain and foster the ministry and mission of the Catholic Church.

Secondly, we honestly need to grow our parish communities. We need to continue to increase our Sunday attendance. Yes, we need more folks worshiping with us in the pews.

The hospitality and welcome we constantly extend to new parishioners makes our parishes great places to worship. Often new parishioners will tell me that our parishes were, in a way, hidden treasures that they were surprised to find; and that they are very impressed by the vibrant faith of our diverse community.

Who can you reach out to and encourage to worship with you on a regular basis? What are the ways that you and your friends can share your time and talents with our parishes every week?

There is an eminent need for all of us to be missionaries of our Catholic faith today, especially to those who have not developed a relationship with the Catholic Church. How can we enhance the commitment by families to worship every Sunday, rather than an occasional approach to the sacrament?

I am grateful for your prayers and support. May God's love and spirit enliven us as we tend to our financial challenges before us, but more importantly to care for the spiritual needs of God's family and the mission of the Church.

– Fr. Larry