Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The past few weeks, including today, Jesus speaks to us in the gospel through parables to help us, his disciples, understand what the kingdom of heaven is like. Our mission statement speaks to how we as a parish community seek to proclaim the reign of God. Looking at how we use our resources and prioritize our finances provides insight into our commitment to be about God’s work, making real the kingdom of heaven here on earth. Please be sure to take home a copy of our annual report or read it online. It provides great insight and commentary about how we have been investing in   and living out our mission.

I’m grateful to the members of the finance council who provide oversight of the financial operations of our parish throughout the year. I’m especially thankful to Bob Randolph, immediate past chair (who continues to serve on the council) and Adam McCarthy, current chair. Many thanks to Adam for speaking at each of the Masses this Accountability Sunday and helping us to understand the financial aspect of our parish. I’m also thankful to Julio De La Rosa, who has been serving as our Acting Director of Finance and Planning since April 1.

One of the challenges we face as a parish is making sure that we live within our means. Providing for a large physical plant and compensating staff requires a substantial budget. Julio and the finance council help to ensure that we are paying our bills and living within our means. However, it is much more than that. A simple culture of “paying the bills” focuses on need and scarcity, with money and spirituality addressed as separate matters. In contrast, at St. Francis we are striving for a Culture of Stewardship where, rather than simply “paying the bills”, we strive to “live the mission” of our parish and proclaim the reign of God. Here, there is a strong connection between finances and investment in Christian mission. For example, our tithe to justice and peace and our tithe to tuition assistance for Catholic education help us to be faithful to the mission of our parish. How we spend our offertory is strongly connected to our commitment to stewardship. I’m sorry to report that, though the needs of the poor in our community have increased, our offertory has remained relatively flat. One of the challenges we face in the future is to ensure that offertory income rises at a rate at least consistent with the cost of living.

Thank you to all of our generous stewards. You allow us to be faithful to our mission: “Inspired by our patron Francis, we seek to proclaim the reign of God.”

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark

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