“He who goes about to reform the world must begin with himself, or he loses his labor.”
- St. Ignatius of Loyola
A MESSAGE FROM MONSIGNOR STACK
On behalf of the Finance Council and at the midpoint of our fiscal year, I am sharing the financials for your review and a short narrative on our current state of the Parish as we begin 2020.
These last six months have gone well financially. Between lowering our expenses and increasing our total income we have a net income surplus of $198,939.00!
It is always a challenge to budget for income as we receive unplanned donations, electronic giving, tax friendly planned distributions and the lag in time before we receive the overage from the Annual Appeal. Our giving at Mass is down a little but giving by other means, especially electronic giving, is way up. Even better news is that our expenses are down by 8% or $132,859.00.
Through better management of income and expenses we have been able to make some improvements to our Worship Experience. We have hired a full-time director of music, Eric Alexander, who has a world of experience in church music as well as performing in stage productions. We have also hired a full- time director of Evangelization and Ministry Outreach, Ricardo Luzondo, to enable us to focus these efforts in more effective ways.
Monsignor, the staff, the Pastoral Council and Finance Council have adopted a goal of having 4,000 people at Mass each weekend by our 50th Anniversary in 2022. We have increased our hospitality and welcome efforts in the narthex, added a golf cart to bring people from the farthest parking. We added another ramp in the east side handicapped circle to facilitate dropping off persons there. We have increased the availability and the size of the nursery on Sunday.
In our Liturgy and Worship, we had two more summer concerts, added a Messiah sing along and a Bethlehem walk. The Lady of the Guadalupe celebration was the talk of the community.
We made upgrades to the facility and campus as well by updating the Community Life Building first floor with new tile and new carpet. To further protect the Parish assets, new security cameras were added inside and outside as well as a monitoring station in the Administrative office. We also cleaned up the retention areas around the campus to facilitate run off and appearance. Large limbs and other trees were removed that posed potential issues to inbound traffic, the Parish roof line and HVAC systems.
Our staff and hospitality ministers went through CPR/AED and fire extinguisher training courtesy of the Alpharetta first responders. Corporate Chick-fil-a provided an overview of their hospitality training program to our hospitality ministry as well.
The Parish operations have continued to find ways to reduce costs including outsourcing 30% of the janitorial services which reduced payroll and worker’s compensation risk. We reduced postage on offertory envelope mailings, changed the bulletin and website vendors to reduce costs and improve service. We reduced bank fees by converting to Bank of America, and we implemented corporate pricing and cost controls on office supplies through the Staples small business program.
The Parish was not without its challenges as well. We had yet another unfortunate plumbing issue in early December that caused damage in the Pastoral offices. Catholic Mutual covered those costs and the final settlement will allow us to replace the final piece of the original 1970’s plumbing in May 2020.
The current state of St Thomas Aquinas is great, and its future is bright and exciting. So far this calendar year, we recognized and celebrated the various ministries and organizations which help make St Thomas the living waters in the community. We are in the process of booking three outdoor concerts for the summer. Our youth are getting ready for their Puerto Rico mission trip in June. Rucker Road and our entrance will soon be getting back to normal. In May, we will be expanding and updating our LifeTeen room and refreshing the Parish Hall and gathering area with new floor covering, paint and lighting.
We are seeking approval from the Archdiocese to continue the master plan and kick off a capital campaign in March/April 2020. We encourage each of you to dream big and help grow the Parish in faith, service and outreach.
Monsignor Daniel Stack
I was riding in my car with my brother and we were chatting about his participation in a small faith group or some adult formation activity at St. Judes. He said that the speaker used an analogy of a professional sports game and asked the listeners if, in their personal faith life, they were players or fans. I hope we are all both. As fans we are encouraging those on the field to use their talents in the pursuit of their goal, to live their faith life vibrantly. As players we are giving examples that excite the fans by showing, in effect, look what God can do through us. His grace can move through you as well!
Stewardship is using the gifts we were given to enliven the faith of those around us.
In the “Gates of Prayer,” the prayer book of reform Judaism I found this little proverb: Where is God? Wherever we let him in. Stewardship is using our gifts to enable others to recognize God in their midst and to let him in.
Those fed at a soup kitchen are fed by Christ. Those clothed by a charity store are clothed by Christ.
As St. Paul says in Galatians: It is no longer I who live but Christ living in me.
Stewardship is a kind of two step process where, as the Jewish proverb says, we let God in but then we allow God’s graciousness to flow out from us in the exercise of our talents and gifts in service to others.
Stewardship happens most of all in your careers. Doctors have been given the gifts that enabled them to become healers and they exercise stewardship as they allow that gift of healing to change the lives of those who come to them. Accountants are accountants because of the academic gifts God gave them. As they exercise those talents to improve the lives of others they are being good stewards.
I have two gifts I enjoy very much. One is welcoming. I am really good at it. It is such a pleasure to see someone who might seem a little anxious coming here for the first time as they, with a warm welcome, show by their body language that they feel at home. My second gift that I most enjoy is making mole hills out of mountains. It is a great joy to use that gift to enable someone who is certain that the sky is falling to come to realize that it is only a little rain. And that rain will bring new life.
How have your gifts brought you this sort of joy as you live stewardship?
Monsignor Daniel Stack
We invite you to continue apportioning your gifts and tides via regular mail or dropping in the black box outside the office or, even more secure, the online giving through our web site or the new application on your smartphone.
|Budget Week Nbr.||41||42||43||44|
|Total Weekly Offertory||$52,574.13||$36,207.00||$35,109.42||$34,789.15|
|Budget for Week||$38,000.00||$38,000.00||$38,000.00||$36,000.00|