From the Pastor: Finances and (Unrelated) Priest Change
The more exciting and/or interesting stuff is found later in this article, but I have to start out with financial information. Yuck. [Don’t skip ahead! Read this part first!] The Diocese runs her fiscal year from July through June. So every spring each parish has to put together a budget and submit it to the Diocese for oversight. It forces us to make plans, to see how well or poorly we kept to the last year’s plan, and to see if there is any trouble lurking around the corner. Those of you on the financial council know this quite well and most of the rest of you have some sort of idea of how it works either through business accounting practices where you are employed or through simple bulletin and pulpit announcements seen every year at every Catholic parish you have ever attended (assuming you hear announcements and read the bulletin!). This year we have the following numbers listed in our submitted budget: Two years ago the actual offertory income was $249,415.91. Last year the actual offertory income was $283,084.18, which was a nice bump upwards! This fiscal year the actual offertory income (well, almost actual, since the last few weeks have to be estimated at this point) went back down to $250,330.87. The past years we also met our APA goal (which, to every accountant’s horror, runs by the calendar year instead of the fiscal year) while this year we are halfway through the year and only halfway to the goal. That seems reasonable enough except that the vast majority of all APA money is historically collected in the first two months of the appeal, so it looks like we will not make it this year, which is strange now that we are sure we have a Bishop who actually supports this parish’s mission! What you do with this information is up to you. My goal in showing you the numbers is simply to remind you that the traditional fifth precept of the church (according to paragraph 2043 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, from which I take this quote) is, “(“You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church”) means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his ability. The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his abilities.” And, yes, in the current edition of the Catechism the last two lines are nearly identical, for reasons I will discuss when we get there in my Catechism class! And, if you check the online Catechism at the Vatican website, you will find it very different, as they seem to have only the old edition of the CCC there rather than the new edition. Give them a few decades...
[You skipped ahead, didn’t you? Go back right now and read the first paragraph before you get to the good stuff. Don’t make me interrupt my homily and come down into the pew to snatch this bulletin from your hands...] But enough about that. What you give is between you and God. Now for some much different and, I hope, exciting or at least interesting news. July 1 is not only the start of the new fiscal year, it is also the day most priest changes take place. This year we have a change of priests here. No, not me. Father Peter, who is a Blessed Sacrament priest, had a contract with the Diocese to be in charge of St. Joseph Vietnamese Mission for three years. His term is now up and he is moving on. I have not announced this earlier (though it has been public knowledge ever since its publication in the Diocesan Pastoral Bulletin and website some time ago) because Fr. Peter is only announcing it “officially” this weekend to his community. Please pray for him and wish him well if you see him before he heads out to wherever his Religious Order will send him next. The new Priest-In-Charge of St. Joseph will be Fr. Chien Xuan Dinh, S.V.D., a priest of the Divine Word Missionaries. Here is the (very minimal) information which was included in the letter from the Diocese informing me that he is coming, “Father Dinh is originally from Vietnam but has been living in the U.S. since 1990. He is currently the pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish and Saint Benedict the Moor Parish, both in Indianola, Mississippi. He was ordained on May 24, 2008, in Techny, Illinois and has worked in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, as well as in the Diocese of Jackson, MS.” Father Chien stopped by very briefly last week to introduce himself and drop off some belongings. He will be living at the rectory with Fr. Dorvil, Fr. Tuoc (although he is leaving in a couple of weeks for another long stay in Vietnam) and me. He does not (yet!) know the Traditional Latin Mass and has never been in charge of a Vietnamese parish, but is up for the new challenge on both counts. Please start praying for him now and he will get off to a great start!
Oh, and for those of you who skipped waaayyy ahead hoping the really good stuff would be in the very last lines, let me return to the financial report. Gotcha! We sent in a balanced budget. That’s not great since it means that we will set aside no savings but we will have no disheartening deficit, either. Thank you!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka