Let’s Keep a Great Thing Going!
Dear Parish Family,
As we enter into the second Sunday of Lent, when we focus on the stewardship of our parish and our diocese, I want to express one message loud and clear: THANK YOU! Thank you for responding so generously to the 5-4-1 Generosity Challenge! As your pastor, I am so proud of you, our parishioners, who have stepped up to support the work of the Gospel and the building up of God’s kingdom. Each year, we have had over 400 parish families, whom I like to call “The Stewards of St. John,” pledge their intention for the Sunday offertory for the fiscal year.
We began the 5-4-1 Generosity Challenge back in 2019. For the four straight years before that, from July 2015 to June 2019, we never met our budgeted amount for our Sunday offertory. Consequently, in order to make up the difference for those four years, we always had to take out of our savings, which has become critically low. For the fiscal year 2019-20, however, we instituted the 5-4-1 model of stewardship, as well as began to increase our communication of all the costs that go into the work of the Good News and maintaining the functionality and beauty of our St. John Church, St. Joseph Church, and St. John School campuses.
We invited you to contribute 5% of your gross income to our Sunday offertory, and right out of the gates, you rose to the challenge! We had over 400 parish families submit pledges for what they would give for our parish’s operational expenses. As a result, we have been above budget for the two fiscal years from July 2019 to June 2021. Moreover, we are well on our way for doing the same this fiscal year 2021-22 to make it three years in a row!
Two years ago, we emphasized the 1% of the 5-4-1 Generosity Challenge, inviting you to give 1% of your gross income to our Diocesan Services Appeal, which supports all of our diocesan operations, initiatives, and works of mercy. You likewise rose to that challenge, as we have met our DSA goal for two straight years now! So THANK YOU for supporting all the wonderful work our diocese has done, which includes the formation of our seminarians. We had the joy of seeing Fr. Mark Martin finally ordained a priest of Jesus Christ last year and serving the people of God after his six years of formation! And YOU had a part in that through your DSA pledge!
This past year, we have shifted the focus to meeting that third, middle number of 4%, which we will primarily direct towards the costly maintenance of the facilities of our churches and our school. We are so grateful for the increases to our Capital Expenditures Fund (yellow envelopes). You again are rising to the challenge! You may have noticed in our Ten-Year Plan, however, just how extensive the needed repairs in these next several years will be for both our St. John Church and St. John School buildings. We very well may need to do a special Capital Campaign to ensure that we can afford that maintenance and the planned restoration and beautification of our treasured St. John Church.
Until that is determined, I as your pastor invite you to be faithful to all three aspects of the 5-4-1 Generosity Challenge (“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse…” MAL 3:10) and to the last payments of your Witness to Hope pledge. This is the fifth and last year of that capital campaign. Our dollars are at work, as this last year of Witness to Hope funds saw the replacement of the windows of the north end of our St. John School and the vast improvement of our parking lot across the street from St. John Church. Our attention is now turned toward the repainting of the interior of St. John Church and finishing the rest of our school’s windows. So please finish strong in making the last payments of your Witness to Hope pledge! I pledge to do the same, as I will be giving the last $5000 of my $25,000 pledge.
Smaller, but Stronger!
Despite the challenges of Covid, the Stewards of St. John have remained faithful! While our Mass attendance has not returned to pre-Covid levels, your support of the 5-4-1 Generosity Challenge and the Witness to Hope Capital Campaign have remained strong! You know what that tells me? While we may be smaller, we are stronger! The true believers have remained faithful and continue to grow stronger in their dedication to Christ and his Church! So let’s keep this great thing going! I see great and wonderful things ahead for our parish family, and I’m so happy that each of you are a part of it through your participation and support. In all the distractions and temptations of the world, you have chosen Christ, and that better part will not be taken away from you!
Yours in Christ,