I will join you at all Masses this weekend to share our annual report. Each year at this time, either I or a member of our Finance Council, has shared a financial report with you. Most years the presentation was supported with a 1 or 2 page bulletin supplement. I hope that sharing this information has helped each of you to appreciate how our costs, expenses and other details support the powerful ministry and service that takes place here at Holy Family; and how important it is that each of us financially supports the ministries, activities, services and people who carry out our mission.
This year I want to significantly expand our presentation so that all of you can have even more detailed information. Our expanded Annual Report this year, like those of so many other organizations, communicates in a much larger context the essence of the mission and purpose of Holy Family. It tells a lot of our larger story, particularly how we have carried out the Year of Mercy through prayer and action. Please read this report carefully. It is not fully complete, but it is more comprehensive than in previous years. Even those of you who are most involved and familiar with our community will learn from it.
I will complement the report with my homily this weekend, which will further emphasize what a wonderful, vibrant and active community we have, BUT, at the same time, discuss the need for all of us to consider supporting Holy Family’s mission with increased, regular, financial support. Think about the rising costs of services and operations in every other aspect of your family’s life. Our Holy Family community is no different, and the stewardship of all must support the increased cost of providing such an ambitious operation, thus enabling us to do so much, particularly for those who do not have the means to financially support us. God has given us much. We have worked hard as a community to develop and build our portion of God’s Kingdom. The challenge is to not simply sustain it, but to make it even greater! It is a challenge that belongs to each and every one of us. If we give more, we will become more. We have been given much and we must develop and grow what God has given us – each and every one of us.
Consider the impact of Holy Family. Let me share some examples. This past week I received two requests from college students for financial assistance because they are doing medical and immersion trips to extremely impoverished places in our world. These are not academic requirements, but initiatives that these students are doing on their own. I am not asking you to give them money, but I am asking you to support Holy Family because these students first learned about poverty and the missionary importance of service through their parents and our Teen Faith mission trips. Your increased financial support enables us to educate and form young people with a spirit of service that our world needs now more than ever.
Consider that one of the biggest WOW moments of the past year was a college student who created the speed painting proclaiming Mercy is Here at the beginning of our Christmas liturgies in church. Your support enables her and so many other teens to feel that Holy Family is their second home and an environment where they grow in their faith. Consider that, for the first time, a teen directed our Passion Play last year, again because she sees Holy Family as a place to share her God given talent. None of these young people are in a position to significantly support Holy Family financially, but so many of you are, and the costs for providing the environment that they are thriving in continues to rise.
Obviously we are not only a parish of teen activity. Consider that we are included in a brand new book entitled Great Catholic Parishes (Ave Maria Pres 2016) written by William E. Simon. From his interview with me, he focused on our many Small Christian Communities and how this ministry has helped to form the faith life of many adults in our community. We were also the first parish mentioned in Bill Simon’s interview in the Wall Street Journal last week, again recognizing us as a truly vibrant community of faith. We are continuing to take Holy Family to another level, but we need your support to do so.
Many of you are unbelievably generous in your financial support. I cannot thank you enough for your generosity. Many of you are able to give more. Please consider increasing your financial commitment on a regular basis so that our operation may support our ever growing and expanding mission, especially if you have not increased your regular giving recently. Please consider the many benefits to you and our community of electronic giving. It really does help us to be more efficient.
Please also consider that many of the major costs of our operating budget, namely salaries, has stayed flat in the past 7 years. We have done what we can to keep costs down, but other significant maintenance and operational costs have increased largely due to the age of our facilities and the need to update our technology, which is one of the key distinguishing factors making us unique among our peers in other Christian denominations and in Catholic parish circles.
Participating families in Family and Teen Faith as well as our Academy continue to rise. Sacramental experiences in baptism, weddings and funerals, as well as the number of families that constitute our parish are also rising. Our Human Concerns efforts continue to not only grow but are cutting edge, such as our next Lenten Social Justice Project which will support the renovation of perhaps several parishes in Cuba. These are signs of a growing, thriving community, and one that needs increased financial support from EVERY ONE of us. Thank you for your attention to these details and the message in my homily this weekend.