Brothers and Sisters, our upcoming section of Matthew Kelly’s book The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic is about Generosity: how we as part of the Body of Christ share our Time, Talent and Treasure with our Lord Jesus here at our parish community of Saint John the Evangelist.

He (Jesus) has given us a precious gift of spiritual leaders in Fr. Chas, Fr. Brian, Deacon Dave, Deacon Mike and Deacon Al, who preach and teach the Gospel so we may understand God’s Word and make Him the center of our lives.

Our part is to support His generosity with our Time, Talent, and Treasure so we may spread the Word to all people here in Jackson. Are you a person after God’s own heart who will carry out His every wish? Have you given your heart to the Lord? Is your heart beating as one with the Lord’s heart? Is your heart close to or far from the Lord? It is difficult to know our hearts; however, the Lord has given us a way to judge the position of our hearts.

Jesus said: “Wherever your treasure lies, there your heart will be” (Luke 12:34). If your treasure is in the bank, an IRA, or some other financial account, then your hearts may not be near “our Father Who art in heaven.” But if you “sell what you have and give alms” (Luke 12:33), you may be re-investing your treasures in heaven. Then your heart will be near the Lord, your reverence will not be empty, and you will not be self-serving but Godserving (see Mark 7:6).

Therefore, move your heart by moving your treasure to the Lord. Father, may I not put my heart in the wrong place. “God created man in His image; in the divine image He created him; male and female He created them. God Blessed them saying: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” -Gen 1:27-28 May we regularly share our Time, Talent and Treasure with our beloved parish and with the missions. He will be generous with us by 100 fold if we obey and be generous with Him. God Bless you and keep you in the protection of His Love.

– Tim Powers

I’ve been a St. John’s parishioner for over 30 years. I am married and have 3 children. I am recently retired from Consumers Energy. My approach to financial giving is just a part of being a member of St. John’s Parish. It is a belief of sacrificial giving/tithing that is instilled in us by the Catholic Church. It is important that we share our personal wealth with the parish to sustain its mission now and for years to come. In order for the parish and school to provide all of the ongoing services, staff, religious sacraments, education, church/ buildings/grounds, etc., we need to provide the funds to keep it all going and produce abundant fruit.

– John Richards

My name is Jack Fremeau. My wife Joyce and I have been St John’s parishioners since 1979.  We think of this parish as a family, home, and blessing to help us attain happiness in heaven.  Our four sons grew up in this parish and attended school at St John, JCMS, and Lumen Christi. I currently serve St. John as a member of the finance council, and would like to share with you some thoughts concerning our parish finances and intentional giving.

As you may have noticed from the financial data published in the bulletin, our weekly offertory collections have generally been less than the budgeted amount. Overall since the start of the budget year in July 2018, the collections are more than $40,000 behind.

You may ask about how the money from the collections is spent. Are we spending wisely? I will tell you that it is the job of our finance council to oversee the stewardship of our parish resources.  The finance council ensures that the annual budget is appropriate to the needs of the parish and that monies spent are consistent with those needs. All significant off-budget spending is approved in advance by the finance council (e.g., the school roof repair last year). There is so much good happening at St John. We support an elementary school of over 200 students from Pre-K through 6th grade. We support our 7-12 graders attending Lumen Christi. We support the education of our public school children in our Catholic faith. We reach out to the community at large through the St Vincent de Paul Society,  our Knights of Columbus, our Christian Service Commission projects, and the numerous and varied parish “Come and See” initiatives.

I believe that the parish is spending wisely. Let me share with you an example from my area of concentration, St John Elementary School. The school budget for 2018-19 is a bit more than $1.2 million, a bit more than $6000 per child. Tuition for one child is $3450, with discounts for families with more than one child enrolled and additional assistance to those with needs. The tuition rate is set yearly in order to make Catholic education affordable for all while at the same time carefully weighing its impact on the parish budget. The school receives some financial support from its Parent Teacher Organization’s efforts and from Jackson Area Catholic Schools’ community fundraisers such as the Family Fall Festival. However, more than $500,000 of its budget comes from the parish offertory. salaries and benefits, especially health insurance and payroll taxes for teachers and staff are by far the largest budget items. Heat, electricity, and insurance on the school building amount to $130,000. We cannot operate the school without the significant support of the parish at large, which necessitates each parishioner family’s stewardship of  their personal treasure. So how ought we approach the giving of our treasure? I believe that we are called to share our gifts intentionally.

What does intentional giving mean to me? It starts with prayer to discern what we will return to God from the fruits of our labor. Joyce and I have received so many blessings from God in our lives, and so many of those blessings have come through St John Parish. Our giving has evolved over the years, from our days as young parents into our retirement years.  Giving became and is the top line in our family budget, which we review at the start of each year and during the year if our circumstances change. It is the offering of our “first fruits,” and we can truly affirm that over the years our parish and charitable giving has become a gift returned to us. Even as I write this, we are asking ourselves if our current offertory is consistent with our commitment to intentional giving.  Can we do more? It is an ongoing process.

I hope you see St John Parish as a family and gift in your lives. I hope you will prayerfully consider intentional giving as the way to discern the appropriate contribution to St John Parish and other charities. May God enlighten us all in our response to the gifts we have received from Him from Whom all blessings flow.


– Jack Fremeau

Recently we were asked the question “Why do we financially support St. John Parish?” I really never thought about it much. My husband, Larry, and I were raised by parents who taught us that if we were blessed with the opportunity to earn money, it was expected that the good Lord should share in that blessing. As we went from small part-time employment and on to real earnings, that expectation never changed. Clearly the financial support for our parish increased in amount in relationship to our income. When I look around at all St. John represents in where I am in my faith development, I would hate to imagine where I would be if St. John wasn’t here. We are very blessed at St. John to have so many opportunities to grow in our faith. Couple that with our beautiful Church and surrounding property, God has been very good to us. Quite frankly, without parishioner support, we could not maintain any of it. This is our parish. We owe it to God and ourselves to take care of it. I would invite you to take a personal look into “Why do you, or don’t you, financially support our parish?”

– Karen Kurzynowski