You may have heard the announcement at Mass a few weeks back about the success of our 2018 Bishop’s Annual Appeal. As you know, we give regular updates on the BAA throughout the spring, and our mid-summer announcement was that our parish raised $480,000 for the 2018 BAA, the highest amount we have ever raised, and the highest amount raised by far in the entire Diocese of Raleigh. And so on behalf of the friars, thank you to all who helped us do so well. Related to the success of the BAA is the success of our parish offertory over this past year, so critical to the ongoing operations of our parish. Our offertory was up by 6% over the previous year. And so another thank you from the friars and staff of St. Francis for your ongoing generosity to our parish.
As a result of our parish survey at the end of last year, we learned that we needed to do a better job communicating the overall financial set-up of the parish, and so in response to that, we will be offering a 4-week series that will provide background information on our parish finances and this will include sessions on the church, the school, the preschool, and the columbarium. These sessions will be held on four successive Thursday evenings in August and will be presented by our Director of Finance and Planning, Mr. Rob Neppel. We encourage you to attend any or all of these sessions and there will be opportunities for questions and discussion.
We are continuing to discuss the many “asks” we have here at St. Francis – the important “asks” are: the annual Offertory Appeal; the Bishop’s Annual Appeal; the Franciscan Challenge; the year-end ask which goes toward important maintenance and infrastructure projects such as the new roof for the church, siding for the friary, carpet for the church, and new signs for our Leesville Rd. entrances. We are also continuing to look at our parish debt which currently stands at around $4.5 million. We learned in the survey that many people do not know about our debt – where it came from, what it was for – and we will be addressing that in our financial series. We would like to pay off our mortgages sooner rather than later, so that our schools in particular are freed from carrying those mortgages in their budgets. We are continuing to look at the best way to do this.
Finally, in these hot days of summer, a movie recommendation: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” a new documentary about Mr. Rogers. How many of us remember watching “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” while growing up, in my case on channel 2 out of Boston on weekday afternoons? You could say that a frequent message of Jesus throughout the gospels is expressed in the title of this movie: a sense of courtesy, openness, gentleness, and kindness, and all of that comes through in the way that Fred Rogers interacts with all kinds of people. It’s a movie that’s well worth seeing.
Blessings on your week!