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.