As I write these lines on Monday, December 5, we have just concluded our Parish Christmas Fair and the annual Christmas Party thrown by the Social Concerns Committee for the women of the Park Avenue Armory Women’s Shelter. One could more effectively convey the happy mayhem of the weekend by pointing out that it was also Food Sunday, and that there was a Parish Coffee after the 12 pm Solemn Mass.
All told, the time from December 2 until December 4 offered a concentrated experience of human
generosity and it put real flesh upon the Gospel. Together came the energies of donors, decorators,
displayers, recipients, and shoppers. Both parish halls sported marvelous Christmas trappings and
radiated welcome and warmth. Where generosity appears happiness follows, and it lit the faces of all involved. It would be a great thing to make such a report in any year, but in this year, didn’t we need it! Over and over again, I have seen that the practice of generosity heals and renews. When people extend themselves they
exorcise pettiness, self-absorption, and anxiety. So as these events directed resources to good purposes they also raised the heads of all involved so that truly we may perceive the “nearness of our God.”
So let me thank all involved in the abundance of the weekend. It was preaching more eloquent than any homily.
As we enter the second part of Advent and prepare for Christmas let me offer two helps available in our parish. The first will be our celebration of Advent Lessons and Carols at St. Catherine’s next Saturday, December 17 at 7:30 pm. The service will be followed by a parish party in St. Dominic’s Hall. Let Scripture, music, and community give you a fresh look at something so very familiar.
The second will be our “Masses at Cockcrow.” We have been celebrating the Misa de Gallo for a
number of years now. This year we are adding a prayer intention which you might share, even if the early hour (6 am) is too daunting. These nine days of Masses will be offered for the safety of children everywhere. In these days of mass migration, human trafficking, and increased awareness of abuse, it will be timely to recall that Jesus himself experienced a precarious childhood. By contrast, what we want for young people is safety and plenty around the Christmas tree. To pray that children at risk may find a secure home will open our own hearts to what Christ came to give.
In this bulletin you will find two financial reports. These tell you the story of the last fiscal year, September 1, 2015 to August 31, 2016, for our two former parishes of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena.
These reports have been compiled by our Business Manager, Lee Ann Rubino, and our accountant, Lani Cosme. Each report has also been reviewed by the Finance Council of the appropriate former parish.
Each report represents years of effort by the Finance Councils, Pastors, and Administrators of St. Catherine of Siena and St. Vincent Ferrer Parishes to bring ordinary income and expenses into line with each other. In both cases the story is of great progress toward real solvency through the practice of careful stewardship. For the news these reports give we are indebted to many people.
For the first time in many years St. Vincent Ferrer had an operating surplus, and this includes significant expenses for retirement and severance. St. Catherine of Siena had an operating deficit cut by more than half from the previous year. In this effort both parishes relied on donations that supplemented the offertory. Worthy of note is the significant amount of money raised by the HELP (St. Catherine) and Operating Deficit (St. Vincent) Collections.
Our current financial posture has evolved significantly from that portrayed in these reports. We have unified the parish administration with one Business Manager, one Music Director, one body of paid singers, and one Religious Education Coordinator. Further, the combining of the Mass schedule has meant that we no longer have two distinct worshipping congregations. From now on it will be more important to look at finances in terms of one revenue stream and one set of expenses.
Once again, let me thank the men and women who have so generously taken on the stewardship of parish finance, and called us to discipline and courage in the handling of financial resources. This is a debt we cannot repay except by thanks, and a gift to be reaped by future generations of the parish.
We will now need to provide for the administration of the unified resources of our parish. More information about this project will come to you in these pages in the weeks ahead.