Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Last weekend Adam McCarthy, Chair of our finance council spoke at each of the masses to provide an accounting of our financial stewardship. You can read the details in the Annual Report available on our web site or in the stewardship center.

Below are excerpts from Adam’s talk.

So what does our parish family  portrait look like today? Our current  parish and school financial conditions are good. We are meeting all our financial obligations on time. We owe $8.8 mil in mortgage debt and manage $4.5 mil in savings, including several endowments. By church standards, our parish has become a very large enterprise. We currently have over 5,000 registered households, 161 employees and 189,000 square feet of space. Our schools have nearly 900 students and we faithfully serve our community through more than 100 ministries. Our parish is a true reflection of the Body of Christ.

The sheer volume of activity and the size of our parish has prompted us to do a comprehensive review of all aspects of our operations. Over the past several years, as we have grown our facilities, we have drawn down savings to balance our budgets. This is not a sustainable way to manage our finances. Thus, like any large enterprise, we reviewed our history to set next year’s budget at a level that reduces expense growth. Most importantly, a 5 Year Plan has been developed to put our expenses and income on a healthy, sustainable level.

On our parish budget side, the biggest single driver of revenue is the Offertory Collection, which not only helps run the operations of the parish, but tithes to our ministries and to the school by way of financial assistance, so that all children seeking   a faith filled and quality education have the opportunity to do so. Our Offertory has been relatively flat the past 7 years but those in need of outreach continue to increase.

On our school budget side, tuition is our largest revenue driver. We have capacity for another 50 students and the greatest recruiters are all of you who can share our Franciscan experience with neighbors, friends and any associates relocating their family to the area. Your chatting up our beautiful school and selfless and dedicated teachers and staff provides the best witness of our school and parish community. So please keep that in mind the next time an opportunity presents itself. We’d like to fill all classrooms up, which not only helps pay the bills, but creates more diverse and enriched classrooms.

Now to an important question that was asked. Why did we purchase Bethany Hills Baptist Church (now called St. Francis Annex)? Our property is currently hemmed in by busy thoroughfares and dense neighborhoods on all sides. This was a unique and infrequent opportunity to pick up the last available parcel of property adjacent to ours. We consulted and heard opinions from our leadership teams, including ministry leaders on potential uses for the property and the suggested uses lists were lengthy. The diocese provided us the loan and we have a tenant on the property whose rent goes towards helping pay the mortgage with a 2nd tenant currently in negotiations, until we are ready to move in entirely ourselves. Looking ahead, there are significant building projects within a 5 mile radius of where we sit today estimated to construct over 4,300 new homes over the next few years. These are major planned communities in the planning or permitting stages that will bring in thousands of new residents, so this property acquisition was part of planning now for those near future parishioners, families, and students that we believe will desire to be a part of our community.

Lastly, thank you for making this community what it is and for the gifts of your time, talent, and treasure. In the annual report, we review numbers and share highlights and concerns, which are essential to share, but what is truly important is for whom these numbers matter; our children, our teachers, faith formation, youth ministry, and all beneficiaries of ministry outreach. Our parish follows in the footsteps of our patron Francis as we become the Living Word of the Lord, through our witness in the ministries in which we participate and through the generosity of our tithing. Thank you.

I’m grateful to Adam for his leadership and to all the members of the finance council who provide oversight to our resources. I’m especially thankful to you for your sacrificial giving to allow the mission of our parish to be realized.

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark