“He who goes about to reform the world must begin with himself, or he loses his labor.”
- St. Ignatius of Loyola
A Message From the Pastor
This is the last time I will be giving you an annual financial update as I will be retiring in July. These eight years have presented their challenges and their blessings. Together we have faced the challenges of the upkeep of 40 and 50-year-old buildings, economic fluctuations and now a global pandemic. You have met each of these challenges and overcome them trusting in a good God and using the gifts He has given you. You have inspired me.
This pandemic has been the greatest challenge. Everything changed and continues to change. Our staffing had to change, our models of ministry had to change, how we participate in the sacramental life had to change. Your flexibility and resolve have brought us through, in many ways stronger than before.
I see your resilience and your patience as reasons for hope as our 50th year in North Fulton unfolds and we find ourselves not only reminiscing about the past but looking forward to the work that lies ahead.
It has been a year of holding our breath as our income rose and fell because of the pandemic. Our expenses were hard to predict, especially with emergency repairs. Through it all we were never in a “negative position.” Between your gifts and the leadership of our staff and the Finance Committee, our heads have stayed above water. Your commitment to our parish mission resulted in the numbers you see in the financial chart. We ended the first six months of this fiscal year with a positive net revenue of $326,690 and operating cash of $486,000. Our savings balance is over $376,000. We received a number of unexpected gifts at year end for which we are incredibly grateful.
Our weekly offertory has been below our weekly plan for much of the calendar year. I do not know what this means. Is this a ‘new normal?’ Has Covid left us a smaller parish or are we still recovering, still bouncing back? I am grateful for a staff that has been able to adapt. I do not know if this is the new normal or if there is a greater return yet to come and more growth as well. This new normal for revenue has required us to be very diligent in our expenditures as we continue to meet each month with our Finance Council to review both revenue and expense.
Our greatest economic worry is our “aging infrastructure.” We had plumbing repairs and air conditioning (HVAC) repairs and normal wear and tear. We spent over $23,000 per year over the last three years on repairs on our older HVAC units. These large units are not environmentally friendly or efficient and require much attention from our vendor. We have already spent $4,000 in the last four weeks and have a $16,000 repair we have deferred until spring.
With our 50th celebration coming on June 4, I do not want to dwell on the challenges we have faced but, on the future, – the next 50 years. This Parish is an integral part of the community. We are the “mother church” for most of the parishes around us. We have our place here at the crossroads of Roswell, Alpharetta, and Milton. We are a Parish that looks like America: newcomers, old timers, young and old, born in the USA and new to America. Our mission continues to reach beyond our parking lot and using our experience, our plurality, and our strong Faith, we welcome those in need of a church to call home, a source for spiritual awakening, prayer, and support.
As I begin to bid my farewells these next few months, I am left with a deep sense of gratitude and peace knowing that the future of St. Thomas Aquinas rests in your good and able hands and will continue to be a beacon in the community for generations to come. May God bless you in your work.
Thank you for your support, your ministry, and your prayers.
Monsignor Daniel Stack
Stewardship invites us to contribute to our faith community in a variety of ways. We often talk about Stewardship in terms of Time (for example, our volunteer service in a parish ministry) and Treasure (the monetary contributions we make to the Parish and the Archdiocese).This tab enables the monetary contributions you may wish to make. Your volunteer service to a parish ministry can be managed on the tab labeled “Get Involved”
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
St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church is filled with faithful, devoted, and generous families that have made the growth and progress of our community possible for almost 50 years. Today, we need to come forward and continue offering our support to realize our parish mission of “Welcoming everyone to proclaim and live the joy of the Gospel,” while keeping social distance for the times we are currently facing.
We invite you to continue apportioning your gifts and tithing 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.||37||38||39||40|
|Total Weekly Offertory||$33,341.57||$32,579.13||$37,157.00||$42,448.00|
|Budget for Week||$41,500.00||$41,500.00||$41,500.00||$45,000.00|
A parish endowment fund benefits your parish now and in the long run. In this video, Nancy D. Coveny and Juliet Greco of the Catholic Foundation, and Fr. John Kieran, a long time priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, explain what an endowment fund is and how it helps a parish.
Watch the video above to see our Church featured and our very own Eric Alexander.