Pastor’s Perspective – November 21, 2021

* Fiscal Year Report for 2020-21

I apologize for the lateness of this report. It is printed on the adjacent two pages. The fiscal year ended June 30th and we usually are able to provide such a report by the beginning of October. The Archdiocese mandated a change in the accounting/budgeting software for all parishes. We began the process in May and are still dealing with lots of issues in the transition. Simple things like importing data from our previous software to the new software are not so simple! Going forward, this will not be a problem since all financial data for the current fiscal year is being entered into the new software platform.

On one side you will see a snapshot of our monetary assets and liabilities and change in equity for the year. On the other side is some data on how our parish generosity extends outward to help others, as well as a few notes of explanation on the report. Please review the data and contact our business office if you have any questions or concerns. The bottom line is that we had a very good financial year in 2020-21 despite all the unexpected pandemic-related expenses and reduced numbers at our weekend Masses. We budgeted and lived within a very conservative budget for the year because things were so uncertain in light of the pandemic. In the end, there were three main reasons for a positive yearly outcome. The first was your continued generosity in giving support to the parish. The second was having our Payroll Protection Loan turned into a grant. The third was the greater than expected school enrollment.

Your continued generosity – We had no idea what to expect when dealing with finances in 2020. Covid hit in March, and all in-person Masses stopped for about three months. During that time, donations declined by about 35%. When we prepared the budget for the year, we thought Covid might begin to lift later in the year and developed a balanced budget based on a 20% decline in income. That decline, thankfully, did not happen. Sunday income went down about 8%, but other donations and your generosity to the yearly Catholic Services Appeal actually went up a bit. The bottom line was a very small decline in total yearly income.  Looking at the current fiscal year, the trend seems to be about the same. Sunday income is down about 5% from its pre-Covid level, but the C.S.A. and other donations have increased. Thank you so much for that generosity. It has allowed us to weather this very uncertain stretch of time, knowing that the finances will be there for what we need.  We were even able to pay off entirely the two loans we had with the Archdiocese.

Payroll Protection Loan turned into a grant – Like other small businesses, when the decline in income hit in March of 2020, and the status of enrollment in the school was completely up in the air due to all the uncertainty surrounding on-site versus remote learning, the parish applied for a Small Business Administration loan to be able to keep all staff employed. Because of that loan we did not have to look at laying anyone off, no matter what happened. And, it should be pointed out, the staff all pivoted quickly and well to taking turns coming into the office but continuing their work wherever possible via remote means. The school took one week and finished teaching the students virtually the rest of the year. I am so grateful to the staff of the church, faith formation, and school for their flexibility and dedication. But I am also grateful that we did not have to contemplate laying anyone off due to the reception of the loan. This past year, per the government’s guidance for all small businesses who received the PP Loan, we applied to have it turned into a grant, and that was successful so that what had been a potential liability became an asset.

Greater than expected school enrollment – When we prepared the budget for the past year, we had no idea what to expect in terms of enrollment. We did not know if we would be teaching on-site or virtually. We had to anticipate that, if we were to teach virtually for the whole year our enrollment would see a significant decline. Thankfully, we were able to put into place a plan (protection panes, sanitization equipment and procedures, limiting class size so that students could be placed at least six feet apart, mandatory masking, etc.) allowing us to teach on site the entire year with the exception of a couple of weeks. Because we were on site and most public school districts were teaching only virtually, we saw a large increase in requests to enroll in our school. Because we limited the size of classes, we could not take all who applied, but it allowed our enrollment to increase rather than decrease, and so our corresponding income increased as well.

Next week you will receive from me the usual “Year End” letter inviting all parish households to come to one of the Christmas Masses and to consider whether an additional generous gift to the parish is possible at the year’s end, either via the Christmas envelope or the enclosed “Year End” envelope. In looking over the report, I hope it gives you confidence that your donations to the parish make a difference, are appreciated, and are used with prudence and care. Thank you.

Fr. Buersmeyer

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