Sunday, June 24, 2018
Jun 21, 2018
I am cutting it a little short this week to allow room for a message from Larry Filipski, Chair of our Finance Council.
I will be leaving later this afternoon (Sunday) for a 4-day meeting of the Association of United States Catholic Priests (AUSCP); being held in Albuquerque. The AUSCP was formed in 2011 and the members are called to serve the People of God in parishes and other ministries. The primary purpose of the Association is to add priests’ voice to the public conversation within our pilgrim church, among bishops, laypersons, vowed religious, ordained deacons and others. We address the following concerns: good liturgy, social justice, the role of women in our church, immigration policies that reflect Gospel values, the dignity of all human lives, and a church that welcomes all the People of God.
Our Mission: To be an association of U.S. Catholic priests offering mutual support and a collegial voice through dialogue, contemplation and prophetic action on issues affecting Church and society. Our Vision: To be a Priests Voice of Hope and Joy within our Pilgrim Church.
The AUSCP is the largest association of priests in the United States. All members are priests in good standing in dioceses and religious communities; new members are always welcome. Our inspiration is the teachings of Vatican II and our primary pursuit is the implementation of those teachings. The Association is always open to the support of friends to whom and with whom we minister. Our intent is to be a voice of hope and joy, as we listen to our members and friends. We hope to be prophetic advocate in the following areas: priestly formation, re-commitment to Gospel non-violence, married clergy, youth synod, priestless parishes, reviewing the Roman Missal, caring for our common home, immigration, clericalism, antiracism, bridges to the laity and end the death penalty.
I am looking forward to interesting week of conversation and fellowship.
Let us continue to pray and sacrifice for peace in our world!
In peace and courage,
FINANCE COUNCIL UPDATE
As Chairman of the Finance Council for your parish, I thought I’d take a few minutes to update you on the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
The Transfiguration fiscal year runs from July 1st through June 30th every year. So sometime around March-ish, we start the process of preparing the budget for the next year. The 2018-2019 budget was just approved at our meeting on June 13th.
Early in my career as an accountant (a LONG time ago), I had the opportunity to work on the budgets of several municipalities, school districts, and not-for-profit organizations on Western New York. Back then, it was pretty easy – look at what you spent last year, add 3% to 5%, and, ta-da, you have your budget. Although very simple, it was incredibly inefficient, and actually encouraged overspending. I am happy to tell you that Transfiguration does NOT use that process!
A large portion of the parish expenditures are dictated by diocesan mandate, state law, or payroll regulations. On top of that, we add our programs and ministries. Rather than look at prior years, we look at the plans for the coming year, and set costs accordingly. Then we try to anticipate the revenues. That’s not an easy job, because donations to the parish are affected by so many factors outside of our control. The economy, tax laws, changes in societal norms, changes in the Catholic Church at the Diocesan, National or International level, and changes in parish demographics all play a role in our income levels.
Our goal, of course, is to have enough income to cover our expenditures, but also to have some left over to add to our savings. That surplus has been shrinking! There was a time, not that long ago, when we could count on $50,000 per year (or more) added to savings for emergencies, capital needs, or unexpected expenses. This year, after cutting costs as much as possible, we have a break-even budget. At least it’s not a deficit!
We are blessed at Transfiguration with a beautiful, modern campus, phenomenal people, and a multitude of programs and ministries. I can assure you that we watch every dollar that we spend, and have put off or eliminated plenty of “would like to haves” over my tenure in the finance council. Of course, we need your help to keep Transfiguration financially strong into the future. Please remember that, even if you are away for the winter, or a few weeks in the summer, we are still here, and still in need of your weekly contribution!
Thanks for listening!