My sisters and brothers,
Earlier in the year, I decided to designate October 21 & 22nd as a weekend for each of our parishioners to reflect on how they contribute time, talent and treasure to the mission of St. Clare of Assisi parish. Thank you for taking this opportunity to join me in this reflection.
A major source of anxiety for many families is the responsibility of creating a household budget. If your primary source of income is a consistent monthly amount, you are provided with somewhere to begin this challenging task. If your household income relies solely on commission, seasonal employment, or another form of unsteady compensation, your budgeting efforts are complicated by a lack of financial certainty, especially when unanticipated expenses appear.
Creating an annual parish budget is no less challenging, especially in one of this size and scope. If the church were a household, it would be as if we operate on 100% commission. Our contributions are in constant flux and they are never guaranteed. For example, when it snowed one Sunday last January and we cancelled our 8a.m. mass, our weekly income decreased by nearly $3,000. We faced similar fluctuations during the summer when many families left for vacation, and both of these seasonal revenue shortages directly coincided with seasonal increases in utility expenses.
In the past, when contribution envelopes were the only way parishioners could provide weekly support, there were few ways to stabilize the fluctuations in parish income. Now that almost 1 in 4 parish families have signed-up for online giving, our options are beginning to improve. If you are among 25% of our parish who is enrolled in recurring contributions through ConnectNow (ParishSoft,) thank you. If you are still using paper envelopes, checks or anonymous cash contributions, here are a few simple steps that can help you join the growing number of parishioners who are helping us improve our sense of financial certainty.
First, set aside some time to pray and discern an annual dollar amount that would adequately express your gratitude for God’s blessings in your life. Next, determine whether you would prefer to make this contribution in 12 monthly installments or 52 weekly installments. Then, divide your annual contribution by the interval which feels most manageable for your family. Finally, log on to our parish website, http://stclarenj.org to follow the Online Giving Tutorial and sign up to make these recurring contributions through ConnectNow (ParishSoft.)
If you’d like some assistance, please contact our parish office. A member of our parish team will be happy to guide you through the process.
On behalf of the many people our parish serves, I thank you for your ongoing support of our Catholic faith community.
Fr. Dave Grover