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Fr. Jeff's Monthly Stewardship Newsletter

September 1, 2016

Just the other day I had another of many conversations about how quickly this summer season has passed. School just started at the Academy and our public school children are starting back as well. As mentioned last month, there have been some questions regarding our financial information. We hope to provide answers here. We also want to call your attention to the Global Mission activity of our three communities over the past weeks and into September.

The Missions
In August, St. Aloysius had a visit from Fr. Marty Lauman from Brazil. He is a son of St. Aloysius parish and has been in the Amazon for many years. He takes care of 37 separate communities there and loves to share the good news of the Missions and all of the projects we have supported over the years. We have also had a visit from the School Sisters of Notre Dame telling the story of their work in Africa to support education and wholeness for the poorest of the poor, especially the children.

At Immaculate Heart of Mary, Fr. John Hiamah visited us from our sister parish IHM, in Ganta Liberia. We haven’t had a visit from the parish for a while. He shared the Good News from Liberia and the people whose lives we have shared for many years. Next week we also welcome a group of Lay Missionaries who serve in many places throughout the world, who also worked in Liberia.

The weekend of September 24-25, Mary Queen of Heaven will also learn more about the Tanzanian Missions of Fr. Thomas’ Community, the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. Their work continues to expand as the church in Africa grows ever stronger in a part of the world that is so scarred by famine, disease, civil and religious wars and often outright persecution. In each instance, were it not for the presence of the Catholic Church and our parishes’ Global Missionary support, the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy would not be known and the call of Jesus to serve all of our brothers and sisters would go unheard.

For Immaculate Heart of Mary and Mary Queen of Heaven, we have included the envelopes you may use to support the Archdiocesan Missionary Appeal. Please use them at IHM for the Lay Missionaries and at MQH for Tanzania. Thank you all for your gifts and support for the Global Mission of the Church. We also want to extend our thanks once again to all who have supported our local Mission efforts; the Food Pantries, the Baby ministry, the Saint Vincent de Paul Societies, the St. Ben’s Meal program, and the various local charitable efforts that so many continue to support in so many ways. These efforts help us to support important ministries and raise awareness of the reminder of the Gospel that “Whatever we do for the least of our sisters and brothers, we do for Jesus.”

Some questions that surfaced about our Financial Report

What makes up parish income?
Monthly (or weekly) envelope giving, the loose offertory collection, rentals and fund raising make up our yearly income.  “Other” income (donations, gifts and bequests) are not considered part of our regular operating income because we cannot count on it as steady income for budgeting purposes every year.

What is the biggest expense for each parish?
The answer is salaries and benefits. A question about salaries also surfaced; Why are some of the parishes paying more than others? We thought that our staff was Tri-Parish. Our Administrative and Christian Formation salaries are divided equally among the three parishes. Maintenance and clergy salaries are divided up according to the parishes being served. Each parish pays for its own maintenance personnel. Fr. Thomas is responsible for MHQ. His salary is paid by MQH. Fr. Jeff is responsible for St. Aloysius and IHM and they pay his salary. Another group of staff positions, Prayer and Worship, will be combined during the 2016-17 budget year. We are working on a new configuration for these positions and at the start of the 2017-18 budget year that cost will be allocated according to the outcome of the Strategic Plan.

If the Parishes were to merge, what happens to “our” money?
It remains our money. Merged parishes retain all of their income, especially their savings, also all of their liabilities. Regardless of what people may say anecdotally, this is always the case here in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. For closed parishes, those Archdiocesan Parishes that go out of existence or are suppressed, the money and any income from the sale of their buildings remains in the vicinity of the parishes. We have had two parishes close in West Allis, St. Joseph and St. Mary Help of Christians. The proceeds from the sale of their buildings, as well as any savings they may have had, was set aside for the future use of the West Allis/West Milwaukee Catholic Community. At present, the seven remaining parishes together administer the Help of Christians funds and the Archdiocese administers the St. Joseph Fund. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel was not a regular parish when it closed and their assets were handled differently.

If a parish is going to close as a result of the strategic planning, why continue to keep the buildings up?
The portions of our buildings that are used for rental income must be maintained even if the Church site closes, as long as that building is rented. At this time, none of the parishes are entering into any unnecessary repairs or capital expenses until a final decision about the strategic plan is in place. Building and deferred maintenance are certainly a part of the plan. This is why we included a basic summary of the building evaluations in last month’s mailing. Should the strategic plan recommend a merger, all three of our parishes will close and a new parish will be formed using the buildings and other assets that we have on hand. We will share more about this process as part of our strategic plan.

What about the school and its expenses?
The Academy is supported by each of the seven West Allis/West Milwaukee parishes. Each bears a share of that support based upon its income. Catholic school education is a component part of our Mission to provide lifelong religious formation for all of our parish members. Sponsoring a Catholic School is a choice that must be supported by every parish community in our Archdiocese, even if the parish does not have its own school. The form of that support and the financial outlay that this obligation involves is also a part of our strategic planning discussion.

Most of the questions we received were under these basic categories. Once again, if you have a specific question regarding the financial reporting last month, please let us know and we will do our best to answer them.

Don’t forget to “SAVE THE DATE” for the Tri-Parish Picnic at Mary Queen of Heaven on September 18th, and thank you again for your generous support of the Mission of our three parishes and your support for our Global Mission efforts. Enjoy these last days of Summer and continue to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit on all of us during this planning process.

Fr. Thomas, Fr. Jeff and your Tri-Parish Staff.

 


 

Since we are now serving three parishes, the easiest way to reach us is after mass, by phone or email.

E-mail Fr. Jeff  <frjeff@ihmwestallis.com> or tel. (262) 424-3341
E-mail Fr. Tom <frtom@ihmwestallis.com> or tel. (262) 945-8071

 
 
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