St. Mary State of the Parish
prepared by the St. Mary Parish Finance Council, October 2022
Dear St. Mary Parishioners – We write this report during an extremely important time of year for our Parish – our Annual Stewardship Appeal for 2023.
WE NEED YOUR GENEROSITY – PLEASE PRAYERFULLY GIVE!
IF YOU ARE ALREADY GIVING, THANK YOU! PLEASE CONSIDER PLEDGING MORE IN 2023. EXPECTATIONS FOR OUR PARISH ARE HIGH, AS ARE OUR EXPENSES, WHICH YOU WILL SEE FROM THE BELOW FINANCIAL SUMMARY.
In accordance with Canon Law, every Catholic Parish is required to have a Parish Finance Council. St. Mary Parish Finance Council is comprised of Father Vrazel and our School Principal, Corinne Cuffle along with laypeople Matt Binion, Matt Boos, Brian Lang, AJ LeGrone, Carson Strickland, and Jon Zimlich. Anna Summersell is the Parish’s Finance Manager and is integral in financial planning and day-to-day execution of the Parish’s financial operations.
Our goal is to help St. Mary Parish to include our Church and St. Mary Catholic School to be able to execute on its Mission for parishioners, students, and our community by ensuring financial resources are a help – not a hinderance. To accomplish this we must:
- Ensure Discipline, Sustainability, and Accountability in financial planning and execution
- Financial Operating Procedures have been but in place for the Parish and School to ensure consistency in budgeting and reporting as well as proper approvals for any spending activity
- Budgets are produced by both the Parish and School each year in a timely manner with careful review by the Finance Council
- Monthly reporting is produced by the Parish and the School each month with careful review by the Finance Council
- Neither the Parish nor the School rely on fundraising activities to fill gaps in operating budgets. Any fundraising activity is for specific purposes – not day to day expenses
- Provide Trust Through Transparency in Parish/School financial condition and reporting
- Parish Budget and Financial Reporting are regularly available on the Parish Website and sent to the Parish at least one each year (see below). The School’s Budgeting process is thoroughly vetted by the School Advisory Board and financial results are available upon request.
- Attract and Retain Talented Employees in Parish and School
- Employees at both Parish and School are now receiving annual merit increases
- The Parish and the School have made several key hires during the last 18 months including Collin Lowery (Music Director), Michael Provost (Head of Maintenance), Lacy Black (BCBA in Resource Program K-8th), and additional Middle School Math Teacher, Marsha Robichaux.
- Be Good Stewards of Parish and School Property through active long-term facility planning and earmarking the appropriate financial resources to execute plan
- Major Pavilion project is complete – financial background is below
- The Parish has acquired, over the past 5 years, several properties along Lafayette Street that are important to the long term needs of the School/Parish.
- The Parish allocates a sizeable part of annual budget to facilities repair and maintenance. Separately, we have begun an annual fundraiser specific to the long term capital needs of the Parish.
- The School is directly allocating Building Fees to maintenance and capital needs.
- Work to ensure Financial Foundation is Laid for the Future goals of the Parish and School
As part of fulfilling the Parish’s strategic goals, we have the following current long term liabilities:
Lafayette Street Property Loans: $232,000 remaining – Multiple properties purchased by the Parish along Lafayette Street for current use of School and Youth Ministry and providing space for additional expansion. This will be repaid over the next 7 years from Parish Operating Budget.
Pavilion: $500,000 remaining: This recently completed project cost $1.1 Million. The bulk of the financial commitment that has already been paid has come from private contributions along with fundraising events. The remaining funds will be repaid over the next 13 years from the annual Golf Tournament and Steak Out, a portion of the School Building Fee, a portion of the annual fund, and remaining pledges.
Please Click Here to view our Financial Report to see how your contributions benefit our Parish. As you can see, we continue to need your support to ensure the important work that is being done here continues.
As Catholics and Christians, we are called to be good stewards of the blessings God has provided us and to be thankful for all our many gifts. The best way to demonstrate our thanks is to reciprocate, and to share our blessings through Stewardship — Time, Talent and Treasure.
Hitting all three components of stewardship, may come as a great sacrifice, and giving is not always easy. But it is rewarding, both here on earth and in heaven.
Sharing of Time and Talent:
The sharing of the gifts of talent is a demonstration of our love of God and thankfulness for all of our blessings, by sacrificing our most precious earthly resource…Time.
- Set an example for your children, family, friends and parish community by taking the uncomfortable step to share your time with others. Children are watching and will learn by example.
- Find a place to volunteer. There are numerous opportunities in our parish and school communities. A brochure with all volunteer opportunities was recently mailed to all parishioners.
- You can also click here to sign up on our parish website which will have a list of all opportunities.
- If you’re not able to donate financially, donate your time and talent.
- If you’re unsure of where to start, ask Father Vrazel, email the parish offices in the church or school. They will put you in touch with folks to get you started.
- Most of our volunteer opportunities end up being really fun!
Sharing of Treasure:
Recommendations for Stewardship Tithing:
1st – Start with a firm goal-> 5%
- That’s 5% of your gross income.
- Add up your income, multiply it by .05, that will give you your annual goal. Divide that number by 12 and that’s your monthly goal.
- If you’re at or already giving 5% that great! Try to keep growing or at the very least maintaining your tithe percentage as your income increases.
- If you’re not there yet, start now. Not next week, not next, month, not next year. Take the time today to start with 1% regular contribution and make a goal to grow that amount.
- Please talk with your family, spouse, or yourself, and please make an honest assessment of how you stand up to the 5% goal.
2nd – Prioritize Tithing
- When considering how much to tithe how does that compare with your other monthly spending?
- How we spend our money says a lot for who we are and what we value.
- Do you value the numerous monthly subscriptions (Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Spotify, Apple) more than your faith and salvation?
- Can you sacrifice one splurge a month and increase your tithe?
3rd – Set up a weekly or monthly contribution
Regular giving is the only way we can sustain a healthy parish. Your pledge is the only way to accurately budget or meet our goals.
4th – Grow Your Tithe as You Grow
- Don’t make this a one-time event. Make this an annual review.
- As your income grows, please do not forget to increase your tithe.
- When you receive an increase in salary, or a bonus, inheritance, or unplanned income, make a pact to allocate 10% to the Church.
- Say for example you receive a $200 per month increase in salary this year. Take the first $20 and add that to your tithe. Simple as that.
- It sounds small but it will add up quickly and we as a Parish will meet and exceed our goals.
- To Recap
- Start with 5%
- Prioritize in your budget
- Set up a regular contribution
- Grow your tithe
- …And remember to volunteer your Time and Talent
The ball is currently bouncing St. Mary’s way. Help us continue that momentum. Take heed to the Churchill challenge and let’s define our lives by giving. Let’s continue to build a stronger Parish Community and as we say around here lets #makemaryproud.
Thank you and May God bless you for your support of St. Mary Parish,
The St. Mary Finance Council,
Father Stephen Vrazel, Pastor
Corinne Cuffle, Principal