As we begin September and anticipate the season of Fall, we are also in Stewardship Season. As you know, Stewardship is all about Gratitude and Generosity, so let us all remember to be grateful and pray that we may be more generous. I am grateful to all our parishioners who have given so much of themselves to make St. Margaret a vibrant community of faith, as witnessed in our Annual Stewardship Report, which has been mailed to all our parishioners and is also available at the doors of Church.
This weekend, we welcome John Martin and Cliff Reynolds, who serve on our parish Finance Council and are presenting the annual financial report to the parish at Sunday Mass. A detailed snapshot of the financial state of the parish can be found in the annual printed report.
There is much good news with our parish finances. We have no debt and owe no monies to the Archdiocese of St. Louis or outside vendors. We pay all our bills in a timely manner. We have savings and monies invested with the Archdiocesan Fund. We have a small parish endowment with the Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri. We have been able to fund the Archdiocesan mandated increases in teachers’ salaries. We have been able to give all our parish employees an annual raise.
Our challenges are the same as every non-profit institution and most every family: rising costs, building maintenance, and long-term planning. Inflation has raised the price of most everything, including utilities, insurance, and supplies, and insurance costs and salaries are projected to keep growing. Our buildings are aging and require constant care and repair to the roofs, doors and locks, restrooms, and HVAC. We must build up our reserves and grow our endowment to cover any potential shortfall or need. Next year’s budget projects a shortfall and will require us to use some of our savings rather than add to it, which is not sustainable long-term.
The overwhelming majority of our parish income comes from tuition and the offertory collection. Tuition is set each year, and we endeavor to keep tuition both affordable and competitive with other Catholic schools. While only school families pay tuition, every parishioner must contribute financially to the parish, and I am asking every parish household to consider an increased offertory donation in the coming weeks, to help with rising expenses and future shortfalls. Prayerfully consider your own budget and present giving, make a plan, and be as generous as you are able, knowing that God is never outdone in generosity. You will be hearing more about how to make an increased offertory pledge in the coming weeks, and our Commitment Sunday is the weekend of October 1.
I am grateful to the members of the Finance Council, who assist Deborah Elliott, our Parish Administrator, and me. Your Finance Council members include Patty Hendrickson, Bob Herleth, John Martin, Agnes McKernan, Cliff Reynolds, and Justin Rowles, and they are all available to discuss any questions you may have about our parish finances. I am wanting to add two or three new members to the Finance Council, so please consider if you are being called to this service. If you have knowledge or expertise in finance, budgets, investments, or business, I invite you to pray and discern if God may be calling you to share your talents as a member of our parish Finance Committee. If you would like to be considered for the Council, please be in touch with me soon. As always, thanks for your generosity to St. Margaret of Scotland. May God bless all our efforts to strengthen and grow our parish during this Stewardship season!