2023 Finance Council Letter
The following letter from the Finance Council was inserted in the bulletin on the weekend of March 25th and 26th.
Dear Holy Spirit Parishioners:
Six months ago, in September, Father Strebler presented the financial report to the parish. As the members of the Finance Council, and dedicated parishioners like yourselves, we believe that a mid-year update would be meaningful as we move into the second half of the fiscal year.
As parishioners, we are partners in a faith-filled community with much to celebrate. We are growing; we continue to see new families at Mass. Our volunteerism is increasing. We are getting to know one-another through parish-sponsored activities that are encouraged and supported by our Pastor. The number of parish groups is increasing. We are a strong parish.
We have started publishing our weekly collections compared to budget in the front of the weekly bulletin. As you can see, we consistently fall significantly short of meeting the budget. We also fall short when comparing year-over-year. As with many aspects of our lives, rebounding from the COVID pandemic continues to be challenging, and this is evident not only in the number of parishioners attending Masses, but in the collections as well. Pre-COVID, the weekly collections were enough to cover operating expenses and also to put some money in savings each year. Currently, the weekly collection does not cover the operating expenses.
Operating expenses are up. Prices continue to increase. The parish is hit by inflation as is everyone else. The costs of regular maintenance of the parish buildings and grounds, in which Holy Spirit parishioners are justly proud, and of keeping a well-functioning office to serve the parish are up. Parish activities such as Octoberfest, Mardi Gras, Volunteer Appreciation Dinner, Parish Picnic, and new activities, while somewhat offset by parishioner donations, do require parish expenditures. Doing more requires spending more. We believe, as we hope you do as well, that these expenses in exchange for a vibrant, active, social, and involved parish community are monies well spent.
There are also some looming extra-ordinary expenses. Replacement of the air conditioning unit has been negotiated at $650,000 and work has begun. The original plans included renovation of the canopy, but in order to reduce costs to meet the monies budgeted, the project was scaled back to address the immediate need, the air conditioning unit and the water leakage into the mechanical/electrical room below. This necessary project requires us to be drawing from our savings. This is not ideal, but is necessary.
Another major expense will be the repaving of the parking lot. We can see that the lot is in need of this work. Although we have not yet solicited bids, a fair estimation a project of this size is $275,000. We still need to address the damaged and out-of-code electrical equipment in the mechanical room. This is estimated at around $50,000-$75,000. These repairs and improvements need to be done (as is apparent in the parking lot), but the financing of them is challenging.
Finally, we all look forward to the refreshing, updating and renovating of the church itself. We want to update the lighting and sound system and to present a renewed, inviting space for worship to attract new families to the parish, which is so necessary to growing and sustaining our faith community. This will obviously require a major ongoing funding initiative in the future.
It is clear based on the above information that our incoming cash receipts do not meet our needs, current and future. We, the Finance Council members are asking you to consider if you can do more to increase your support of Holy Spirit Parish. We acknowledge that some of you may be in a difficult financial situation yourselves, but we ask you to consider prayerfully and honestly if you can give more in your offertory to our parish.
As excited parishioners looking forward to our continued growth, we are confident that our future projects can be funded by the generosity that Holy Spirit Parishioners demonstrate consistently.
Susie Graehling, Chair Ben Basinski John Bohan Carl Dyczek
Ed Jerge Ed Killeen Joe Morbitzer Steve Ochs