With the end of the fiscal year, we want to take this opportunity to provide a review of our financials, a recap of the Parish activities, and the 2021-2022 budget forecast.
For the 12 months ending June 30, the Parish cumulative income exceeded the budget by $659,062 and expense exceeded the budget by $97,324. This provided a positive net income for the Parish of $214,539.
Based on the information we had in 2020, we had expected a loss of $347,199 over the last 12 months as we had seen a significant decline in offertory and attendance, and uncertainty in the economic outlook that began in March 2020 with the onset of the COVID virus. These results show a $561,738 positive change from what was expected.
As a council, we asked the staff to do all that is possible to make the expected loss a worst case scenario and mitigate where possible to ensure the Parish serve the community and meets its mission during the pandemic.
The financials indicate, that your generosity and some tough decisions did mitigate the budgeted loss, and the staff was able to serve the community every weekend, keep everyone safe and make progress in meeting the Parish mission in new ways and methods.
Regarding income, with the guidance of the Archdiocese, the Parish was able to participate in the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) which helped offset our payroll costs in June, July, and August of 2020. These monies became realized income to the Parish when the PPP grant was satisfied. In the area of offertory, the staff and select volunteers reached out to you, our loyal parishioners, in August and September in a stewardship call to action. The financial response made the difference as we had experienced an average decline in the regular weekly offertory of 25 percent the first four to five months of the fiscal year.
The uncertainty of the virus and its impact created significant challenges for a traditional Faith Formation program and with Preschool attendance/tuition as in person classes were halted and families withdrew from both programs. Both of those areas saw a reduction in fees that negatively impacted the Parish income.
In the area of cost, the tough decision to reduce the workforce was not easy and became a reality as variable expenses could not be reduced anymore without a significant reduction in basic services and operating capabilities. The decision to provide those basic services ended up being the best decision for the long-term viability of Parish. The outdoor set up was necessary to ensure we could provide a sense of community for the larger Masses efficiently and safely, but it did come with a financial cost. Those costs over the 12 months drove the large variance in the budget. The two outdoor Masses averaged over 800 in combined attendance per week after the tents were implemented. The six-foot social distancing requirements in the sanctuary would allow at most 180 people per Mass.
Those cost decisions, the PPP program, and the generosity of the Parish allowed the church to provide outdoor masses every weekend, stand up a digital/livestreaming process for Mass, keep the facilities maintained on a reduced schedule, keep our savings intact, avoid any debt, and maintain staffing and benefits at basic levels.
As the fiscal year concluded, we were able to authorize the completion of the Gathering area and the upgrade to the Parish Hall floor that had been suspended since November 2019.
As the new fiscal year began in July, we know there will be challenges with the “new normal.” The 2021-2022 budget indicates optimism in a return in attendance and participation in both Faith Formation and Preschool. This optimism has required additional monies to increase staffing by two full time equivalents from existing levels. This is still below 2015-2020 levels. Preschool staffing has increased to match the increase in census. Monies have been added as we expect more ministries/events to return to church as well as a dedicated budget for the 50th anniversary of the Parish in June 2022.
As we move towards Fall, offertory and attendance have not yet rebounded to pre-COVID levels. We will continue to operate within our means and will not take on debt to fund operations. Staffing and outreach are and will be impacted by this new normal revenue stream.
We can say that the impact of COVID has provided us the ability to be efficient with fewer resources, but we also know that with an aging infrastructure, we will be required to put monies into the buildings and equipment. Just this week, under our main entrance road, the water supply line broke and is being repaired at a cost of $6,000.
Regardless, we will remain cautious in our fiscal decisions as we navigate these immediate challenges in front of us.
Thank you for your support, your generosity, and your prayers as we move to our 50th anniversary in June 2022.
St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church Finance Council
"This is my eighth parish as a priest and my fifth as Pastor. We have been blessed here with the finest staff I have had the pleasure of working with and the finest Finance Council. I consider myself a very lucky man and St. Thomas Aquinas as a very lucky parish. I thank God and thank all of you for keeping our Mission of “Welcoming Everyone to Proclaim and Live the Joy of the Gospel” alive here in Alpharetta."
-Monsignor Dan Stack