Saturday, October 29, 2011

The State of Catholic Peekskill

At all the Sunday Masses on October 15 and 16, 2011, I was grateful to be able to offer a State of the Parish address—grateful because we have a community of Faith that is growing in holiness as evidenced by the record number of people accepting God’s grace through all the Sacraments.  What a gift it is to be able, most especially as Pastor, to have a front-row seat into all the myriad and wonderful ways God is working in the lives or our Parishioners!  But, also, as Pastor, as father and shepherd to the Assumption family, it is important that I make clear the financial picture of our Parish.  It is no secret that these are challenging times; that fact was painfully clear long before folks started to Occupy Wall Street or the many other streets across the country and across the world.   Assumption Church has been feeling the sting of this economy for a few years now.  As you can note from the bulletin reports, our weekly collections are down significantly while our weekly expenses, just like the expenses of every family, have increased. 
  Assumption Parish is a twenty-four seven Parish and, if you have spent even a few moments in our very public Rectory you know that the phone rarely stops ringing.  Thanks be to God!  For we are doing His work, unceasingly and, we are grateful for it!  We want to continue doing it and doing it to the fullest!
Just like any family, we have made significant cutbacks to our budget, requiring staff to take salary cuts and even letting staff members go.  You’ve heard this story time and time again—everyone is cutting back—businesses large and small, local governments and municipalities, everyone.  And, I know, even some of you sitting here have been affected by downsizing companies, losing your own job.   It is hard.
And, yet, I come to you at the same time humbly and boldly to ask that you commit to digging deeper—digging deeper financially to be sure, but digging deeper spiritually as well.  Pray fervently for our parish; God listens and answers prayers; we know that.  And, I ask you to please prayerfully consider carefully my request to participate in our Increased Giving Campaign, Sharing Our Gifts.  To make a real difference, all one family really need do is increase their weekly donation by a small amount.  The Bible speaks of tithing as giving 10% of our gross income to the Church; if all our families were to give 5%, we would be able to meet our expenses and then some.  For our collections to go up 30%, a parishioner who now gives $10 per week would now give $13.  Three dollars more, less than the price of one of those fancy coffees we all enjoy! 
This is our family!  This is our home!  The home where we come to welcome our children into the Christian community, the home where we come to share the Eucharistic feast, the home where we come to wed our beloved and, the home where we tearfully, yet joyfully say good bye to those we love.  We come home to fulfill the greatest desire of our hearts—to know Him better, to serve Him more faithfully, to love Him more deeply!  Our God is worth all we can give.  He cannot be outdone in generosity; what you give to Him will come back to you measure for measure; you can be assured of it!