Financial Report to Parishioners 2021

October 15, 2021

Dear friends in Christ,

As your pastor, I consider it a fundamental duty to present you with periodic information of the financial state of our parish. As you know, the life of a parish can never be measured in dollars and cents. The Church is not a business; she is, as the Second Vatican Council said, “the sacrament of salvation” through which humanity encounters the living God. At the same time, the role of a pastor is both spiritual and temporal. You, our parishioners, along with many friends of our parish, contribute through time, talent, and treasure to our common life, and it is incumbent upon me to be a good steward of those gifts.


The attached Budget-to-Actual report for the fiscal year which ended June 30, 2021 is the fruit of a lot of hard work. Our parish had not produced a budget in several years, so I had to begin essentially from scratch upon my arrival. Thankfully, Mrs. Colleen Jones, our new business manager, did amazing work in putting together a good picture of the financial state of the parish. I am grateful as well to Mr. Timothy Potens and the other members of the finance council for helping me make some difficult but important decisions that have put us is a more stable financial position.


Part of our success last fiscal year involved a marked increase in our Sunday offertory collections. At a time when many parishes have experienced a decrease in this area, we experienced an increase of about 15%. Thank you for your generosity. Every contribution – large or small – is truly appreciated and important in keeping our parish going.


Some continuing challenges include the fact that our tight budget – even with the offertory increase – leaves little room for unexpected issues. We also still have significant indebtedness to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in the form of loans for capital projects and unpaid assessment and insurance bills. When I arrived, this debt totaled $748,368. Thanks to help from Colleen and the finance council, we have already made strides to address this, but it remains a matter of concern, especially considering the deferred maintenance on our historic church. I believe we need to think creatively about how to address immediate issues in our church building by raising the necessary funds. These conversations are ongoing.


Saint Francis de Sales Parish is a vibrant Catholic community. I am moved everyday by the faithfulness of so many parishioners, and by your generosity. Our Sunday Masses are a wonderful expression of the universality of the Catholic Church, encompassing persons of so many ages, races, and backgrounds. As we continue on our personal journeys to the Lord, we recognize that we journey as a Body, and we are comforted that DeSales continues to be an oasis on that sometimes-difficult road.


Feel free to make an appointment with me if you have any questions or concerns about this report. Thank you for all you do!


Sincerely yours in Christ,

Rev. Eric J. Banecker


Note: To view the Budget to Actual comparison from the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021 please click here.

Father Eric Banecker’s Weekly Message

Dear friends in Christ,


It is not every day that Pope Francis and the Economist Newspaper are encouraging people to do the same thing. But that is exactly what is happening as we approach the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, the author of that great work of Western literature, the Divine Comedy.


Ever since its writing, the Catholic Church has always given a unique status to this great poem. Of course, that is not to say that Dante had some kind of prophetic ability to say who was in heaven, hell, or purgatory at any given moment. The poem is, after all, a work of fiction, but one that has perennial truths to teach us. As Dante in the poem continually looks up to the stars, so the Divine Comedy has a unique ability to raise our minds above the travails of this world. If we take it on its own terms, this literary journey from the depths of despair to the heights of glory will remind us that while this earth is passing away, our actions here and now have eternal consequences.


The passages about hell – perhaps understandably – have fascinated the popular imagination the most. And of course, there is a call to responsibility in those sad passages about those who are separated from God for eternity. Yet it is the Paradiso to which we are called as readers and as human beings. Each of us has an eternal destiny, to share in the life of God forever with the great multitude of the blessed whom Dante meets along the way. It is not, in the end, a poem about punishment and evil, but about hope, joy, and the “love which moves the sun and the other stars” (Paradiso, Canto 33). I plan to read the Divine Comedy over the next few months and invite you to do the same.


May God be Blessed!


-Father Eric Banecker



P.S. You may find a website called helpful – they are reading the poem between September and Easter, releasing three videos per week. Pope Francis’ letter on the subject “Candor Lucis Aeternae” (Splendor of Light Eternal) is also worth a read!

Parish Update

Dear friends in Christ,

On this 131st anniversary of the founding of our parish, I have exciting news to share with you all. Today, Archbishop Perez appointed me pastor of Saint Francis de Sales Parish. I am grateful to the Archbishop for his confidence in me, and I look forward to continuing my priestly ministry here at DeSales. It is a wonderful parish that I am humbled to lead. More information will be forthcoming about an installation Mass and celebration. Please keep in your prayers all the priests receiving new assignments this weekend, along with the two newly ordained priests of the Archdiocese.
May God be Blessed!
-Father Eric Banecker

Advent and Christmastide 2020

Vespers & Adoration in Advent

Fr. Eric will continue to offer the weekly Holy Hour on Wednesdays at 5 pm. Come and adore the Lord and join us for Evening Prayer! Our Facebook Page livestreams the whole hour. “Like” us to receive notifications!

Additional Confession Times in Advent

  • Wednesdays at 5:15 (after the Holy Hour homily)
  • Saturdays, 4:15 pm -4:45 pm
  • Sundays, 9 am – 10 am

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

  • December 7
    • 5 pm (Vigil Mass)
  • December 8
    • 7 am – Simple
    • 7 pm – Solemn (with organ and cantor)

The Solemn Feast of the Nativity (Christmas)

  • Thursday, Dec. 24:
    • 5 pm Vigil “Family” Mass. There will be an additional “overflow” Mass celebrated simultaneously in the Lower Church if we are filled to capacity under the CDC’s social distancing guidelines. 
    • 12 am “Shepherds’ Mass” at Midnight. His Excellency Bishop Timothy Senior, the Rector of St. Charles Seminary in Overbrook, will be the principal celebrant at the Midnight Mass.
  • Friday, Dec. 25
    • No 7 am Mass 
    • 10:15 am Mass of Christmas Morning

The Octave of Christmas

  • Daily Masses Dec. 26-31: Masses of the Day are offered at the usual daily Mass times of 7 am (9 am Saturdays). The rectory is closed for the duration of the Octave of Christmas.
  • The Feast of Mary, the Mother of God (A Holy Day of Obligation)
    • Dec. 31: 5 pm Vigil Mass
    • Jan. 1: 7 am & 9 am

Rejoice! The Lord is near!