As we’re coming near the end of our school year—a time when (for whatever reason) Church giving tends to take a little bit of a nosedive—I thought I should update you all on a few things “fiscal” that would be good for folks to know.

First off, I want to thank everyone for answering the call to be true stewards of our parish. As you can see in our bulletin, our contributions (a.k.a. how much parishioners support the parish through their annual, monthly, and/or weekly donations) are up over budget by nearly $120K! Thank you—especially to those who have been working toward a more generous tithe to our parish. We’ve been seeing more folks in our pews every weekend as well, so thank you to those who are making this your parish home and giving generously to support our parish.

My prayer as a pastor, of course, is that people don’t restrict their giving on account of our current upswing in contributions. That $120K that you see in the bulletin represents the total over our budgeted amount that we are currently experiencing. It doesn’t necessarily show you, the parishioners, what we have been able to do with that surplus—and I assure you, it’s not just sitting in our coffers getting stale! Don’t get me wrong, we’re working on our parish savings as well (so that we can have a comfortable nest egg for “emergency” purposes—best practice is considered 3-6 months of operating budget); but I’ve mentioned several times in my tenure here that when we as parishioners are able to tithe spontaneously (i.e., practice stewardship), I as a pastor promise not to bug you for every little project we have to tackle here. And I’ve tried to do just that. Here is some of what we’ve been able to do in the last year with your extra contributions:

  • Our air conditioning units in the Red Room and Office, Living Room, Rectory, and Enrichment Center—all of which were 40+ years old—have gone out one by one over the past couple of years. This year, after it went out last summer, we were able to replace the Red Room and office unit.
  • Early in the school year, the school was experiencing a leak in the ceiling of the entryway. After multiple attempts to address the issue, we found out that it was actually an issue with the tuckpointing around the stonework on the front (west), high wall of the school. That entire upper wall has been newly tuckpointed, and since all of it is sixty-plus years old now, we’re planning to slowly move our way around the school and tuckpoint a wall each summer.
  • Our rectory roof was also experiencing minor leaks, so near the end of last summer, we were able to replace the entirety of the peaked roof over the rectory and offices.
  • One of the school freezers went down in the fall along with the ice maker in the kitchen. We were able to replace both.
  • The camera system at the school (essential these days for ensuring the safety of our students) had stopped recording at some point. When we discovered the issue, we were able to order a new recorder and replace a couple of cameras that had gone out.
  • One of the pieces on our church organ failed and was replaced.
  • This year, with the changes we made to the Family School Agreement and thanks to the generosity of our parishioners, we were able to lower tuition for parishioners by a small amount. I know it wasn’t earth-shattering, but it’s a small move toward what we hope to accomplish eventually in the future—encouraging a full tithe from our parishioners and offering larger parish subsidies to our active parishioners!

These are in addition to the projects that are still “in the hopper”—for any of which we would love and value your continued support and generosity:

  • As you may have noticed, the equalizer to our sound system in church failed a couple of weeks ago (we found a temporary work-around, but the sound in the Church is pretty weak right now). We are working to get that part replaced. This project will be around $3.5K.
  • The high windows on the east side of the school gym received a well-placed blow (or several), compromising two of them. Since none of the glass was suited for the purpose of being in a gym, we’re aiming to replace those high windows as soon as the custom-made windows arrive. This project will be around $12K.
  • The flat roof over the Red Room/Enrichment Center and the flat roof/sky lights constituting the high ceiling in Church both need to be replaced (the estimated combined cost of which is probably near $80K). We are hoping to tackle these this summer, as we are starting to notice leaks.
  • Our brick “Our Lady of Lourdes” sign off Mound Road is in desperate need of some TLC. At some point, once the more time-sensitive issues have been taken care of, we hope to replace the top level of bricks and redo the tuckpointing around the sign. This project will cost $15-25K.
  • As you heard, Empower IL is no longer viable, meaning there is no scholarship assistance program for our students (thanks to our Illinois legislators who don’t seem to value the contributions that Catholic schools make to our communities). We are working hard to build up a scholarship program for our students, essentially from the ground-up.
  • Eventually, we will need to begin a large-scale project (i.e. capital campaign) to do the much-needed updates to our Church as well as possible improvements to our school which we know will need our attention before too long. If you’d like to be on the steering committee for what projects receive our attention during the capital campaign, feel free to let me know!

Again, what we have been able to do has been because of your generosity. Thank you for continuing to be devoted disciples of Jesus and gracious stewards of our parish and school!

Keep spreading joy!

Fr. Friedel

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