Fr. ChasDear Parish Family,

This is the third of a series of bulletin articles on the findings of the diocesan parish audit. Last week reviewed the outstanding parish debt of $615,041 and how the combination of Fr. Murray’s generous bequest of $420,000 and the gracious willingness of the diocese to forgive about half of the remaining debt has paved the way for us to be debt-free by the end of the fiscal year. The diocese’s offer is contingent on doing our part and raising the remaining half of the debt by December 31 of this year. Thus, I encouraged each parishioner to do three things, all of which I, as your pastor, am doing with you:

  1. Please make a pledge by December to the “Thank You, Fr. Murray!” fund. The goal of this fund is $100,000. Please write “Thank You, Fr. Murray” on the memo line of your check.
  2. Please sign up for our online giving. This allows our financial planning to be more accurate. It also allows you to be more intentional about what you invest into the parish and will reduce the amount of work for our counters. Click on the “Parishioners” tab on our parish website.
  3. Please increase your weekly offertory pledge to account for the significant shortfall we have to remain on budget for this year.

St. John School
Another major area of concern during the diocesan parish audit was our elementary school and preschool, particularly regarding the financial setback created by the relocation of the middle school to the Lumen Christi campus. Due to less tuition from the middle school grades and thus an underutilized school facility, the move has resulted in significantly less income. Jackson Catholic Middle School (JCMS) had accounted for about half of the plant expense. With St. John School now having to absorb essentially the same overhead costs, this has resulted in an additional annual plant expense in excess of $100,000 per year.

To help us get back on our feet after such a huge blow, the members of the Jackson Area Catholic Schools (JACS) consortium have thankfully agreed to contribute proceeds in order to cover that $100,000 in our first year without the middle school. After this first year, however, we have to somehow absorb those expenses of over $100,000 into our annual budget, as well as pay the parish subsidy for each child we have attending JCMS. These financial challenges highlight all the more the need for us to emulate Fr. Murray’s generosity.

The Legacy Committee, chaired by parishioner Steve Schneider, has been charged to help guide the vision and direction of the school after JCMS’ departure, how best to utilize the vast space that it occupied, and thus generate the additional income to offset the additional expenses that St. John School must now assume. Thus, a consultant, Ron Niedzwiecki, is helping Kristi Blair with the development of that vision. As of right now, we are looking into the idea of a day care, which has the potential to be a feeder for our elementary school.

Covering these additional expenses is a tall order, but with your support, we are dedicated to making our Catholic school the best it has ever been! With public schools being pressured to cultivate an environment that is more and more antithetical to Catholic values and intolerant of our religious freedoms, the need for Catholic schools is greater than ever. In this crucial time of their youth, when our children are so impressionable and in search of who they are, they need to be in an environment where they are confirmed daily in their inherent dignity that is theirs as sons and daughters of God.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Chas