State of the Communion Address: 2012
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1. This past July 1st marked my fourth anniversary as your pastor. As is my custom, this weekend I will deliver my annual “State of the Communion Address” to you, the people of Mary Immaculate.
2. As you know, this is not a speech, per se, but rather a presentation of what we have experienced here at the parish this past year, it’s an examination of the current state of our parish as it pertains to the Physical, Financial and Spiritual health of our community.
II. Physical Condition of Parish:
1. The most significant upgrade to our facilities took place this summer when we renovated the art room (or the old “cry room”) into a Science Lab and Art Center.
· To fund the $250k project we received outside grant money of $77k and $50k from St. Ann Parish. The rest was raised through the generosity of families and friends of Mary Immaculate.
2. The infrastructure of our facilities remains intact. Maintenance of plumbing, electrical and lighting needs is a constant and we continue to address maintenance issues on an as needed basis.
· Just last weekend we had to replace the compressor for the upstairs Middle School corridor so that our 4th through 6th graders could return to their classrooms in comfort.
3. Basically, though the physical status our parish campus is in good shape.
· We still need to rebuild the two HVAC units in the Parish Hall. New, these units would cost around $65,000. Rebuilt we can get it done for around $30,000. My philosophy is, however, if it’s still running let’s keep using it; and it’s still running.
· Last year I mentioned that our electronic bell system had just gone out and replacing it would cost between $5k to $10k. Can you believe that someone sent me a check for $7,500 in honor of his mother who liked the bells at church?! The replacement cost for the new bell system that we now have was $7,450! Unbelievable!
· Our maintenance staff and custodial crew work very hard to keep the ongoing costs of maintaining our parish facilities at a minimum by doing so much of the needed repairs in house and last year they stayed under budget.
III. Financial Condition of the Parish
1. Financially our parish continues to operate in the black thanks to your generosity.
· Currently, Sunday Collections are actually up from last year’s donations. Unfortunately our beloved second collection is down compared to last year. I’ve said this before: there’s nothing sexy about donating to debt retirement, therefore it’s always going to be a challenge getting significant donations for debt reduction. Sexy or not, the second collection is integral to our financial success.
· But, let me give you some good news about our current debt situation:
· Now, if you’ll remember, last year the debt on the Church building was $2.9 million. But just last month, we refinanced our debt to take advantage of the lower interest rates available. So, we moved our debt from Chase Bank which was at a 6.31% interest rate to Catholic Life Insurance at a lower 4.75% rate. AND, get this, we paid down the principal by a half a million dollars from our cash reserves.
· So, we now owe $2.2 million on our debt and this loan restructuring will save us real dollars of $60k in interest expense the first year alone and over $800k in interest over 10 years.
· The title company processor at closing told me via e-mail, and I quote: “Any borrower that goes from $475 a day in interest expense to $286 a day is nothing short of a miracle!”
· Oh, and I’ve got more financial good news: we not only met, but we exceeded our Bishop’s Annual Appeal goal of $174,000. We were $50 short of having $175,000 pledged until I mentioned it last night at the 5pm Mass and someone gave me $50! Of course Fr. Jonathan believes it’s his presence here that has caused us to exceed our goal but in reality you guys are just amazing! You came through! Thank you very much!
2. Regarding the Parish Festival
· Last year’s Parish Festival was a successful event as always! You all were so generous in your donations of food and drink items for the festival, the theme baskets and items donated and your participation on the Festival day. Our entire parish community came together that day and demonstrated that we are truly one Body in Christ and it’s good to be a member of that Body here at Mary Immaculate Church!
· Everyone always likes to know how well the Festival did financially, even though that is not the main focus of the event. As just stated, the focus is to draw us together to work and play together as a parish family.
· However, the Festival does generate revenue for the parish and I’m pleased to inform you that the festival netted a little over $51,000 to assist with our operating expenses.
· Our next festival is coming up, October 5th and 6th. Let’s all pull together for this, our festival’s 10th anniversary, and make it the best one ever!
· In short, our parish is financially strong. The Finance Council meets every month and reviews our operating income and expenses. Our parish undergoes an annual Financial Review by an outside accounting firm. That review was completed last month and the reports will be given to the Finance Council, School Advisory Council and to the Bishop’s business office. Any parishioner is free to come into the parish office during regular business hours and review the favorable reports on both the Church and the School.
· I have placed in the narthex a copy of the condensed Income and Expense Statement and Balance Sheet for fiscal year 2012 for both the church and the school.
· We continue to be prudent stewards of your contributions and work toward safeguarding our financial future as a parish.
· Okay, enough about the Financial Condition of the parish…
IV. Spiritual Condition of the Parish
1. Now, I wish to focus on the Spiritual condition of the parish. Let me start by highlighting our Family Life and Life Long Faith Ministries:
· Our Prayer Shawl Ministry will celebrate its 5th anniversary next week.
· We prepared almost 50 couples for marriage, in English alone, in addition to a number of convalidations.
· The Parish Pool Party and Family Sock Hop were held during the Summer to build community.
· We hosted our third Bi-Lingual Ministries Volunteer Appreciation Potluck Dinner where over 250 parish volunteers attended.
· We formed a Senior Citizen Focus Committee and they spear headed our successful first annual Senior Expo held last month.
· And we had break out numbers attend the Adult Education Series offered.
2. Next, let’s move on to our Hispanic Ministry:
· This year we were blessed to receive another Spanish speaking deacon, Deacon Eliezar. He and Deacon Martin have been preaching and ministering to our Spanish speaking community with zeal and dedication.
· Furthermore, they are active in leading retreats, forming the Liturgical ministers and guiding the Hispanic Ministry in coordination with Patty Guzman.
· Also, as a side note, FB Mayor Bill Glancy came and met with our Hispanic Council members and reached out to them on behalf of the city which helped begin a healing process among some of our Hispanics.
· Many of our Hispanic groups are growing and taking ownership in their parish and are feeling welcomed and accepted here.
3. Quickly now, on to our Religious Ed and Youth Ministry Departments:
· Currently we have 350 public school students preparing for their First Communion and we have an additional 600 or so students in pre K to 6th grade. And we’re reopening registration next week to accommodate the need for more demands on our program.
· I’m so proud to announce that we have about 137 catechists that will be responsible for teaching our children the Faith!
· And the RE and YM Departments have been collaborating by reaching out to the parents of our youth through several conferences held with the parents of our youth.
· In the Youth Ministry Office, we continue to reach out to our Junior and Senior High students and evangelize to them through dynamic interaction and presentation.
· The Wednesday night MI nights continue to be uplifting, energetic and substantive for our first and second year Confirmation Candidates which number nearly 400 students with 70 more on a waiting list and we have some 100 plus volunteers.
4. I’ve already made some mention of the school in regards to the new Science Lab, but here are a few highlights of the parochial school ministry this year:
· We began this school year with 516 students, which is 13 students up from what we budgeted.
· We had over 45 media spotlights through five different publications last year.
· We had 100% teacher retention from last year. That speaks volumes!
· Of further significance, we brought Tom Grossman on from a part-time Youth Ministry position to a full time position which includes School Campus Ministry, Young Adult Ministry and Youth Ministry. As a result, Tom presented a retreat for the teachers and then a week later led a retreat for the 8th grade class. Mary Immaculate, to my knowledge, is the only diocesan parochial school that has a lay, professional, campus minister to bolster our Catholic, Christ centered environment at the school.
· Needless to say, our school is alive and thriving thanks to our dedicated teachers, families, staff, and principal.
5. Regarding Young Adult Ministry, Tom is developing a program that reaches out and connects with young adults in our parish and the surrounding area. The successful BBQ hosted last Spring is just a glimpse of wonderful things to come.
6. Let me briefly mention our Music Ministry:
· Once again, Thomas presented a wonderful Christmas Concert.
· He worked with our Spanish Mass Choirs and integrated a “youth friendly” Mass for the 6:30pm Mass.
· Lastly, he introduced the music to the Mass that he wrote and published entitled “Mass of Longing” that we sing each Sunday.
7. One final thing I wish to inform you about:
· Because we are so blessed here at Mary Immaculate, and because our house is in good order, we as a parish have partnered with a parish that needs a “big sister” to help her out.
· So, based on the recommendation of Sr. Gloria Cain the diocesan School Superintendent, this past July we adopted St. Augustine Parish and School.
· St. Augustine is in Balch Springs, has been in existence 50 years and is in dire need of some of the most basic things that we take for granted like copy paper and markers for the school (which we’ve already provided for them, by the way).
· By partnering with St. Augustine we look beyond our own needs at Mary Immaculate and reach out to a parish that is vibrant yet strained in the first two categories of my presentation, the Physical and Financial.
· Keep an eye on the bulletin for opportunities to help us develop this new relationship with St. Augustine.
· Needless to say, there’s a lot of good that has gone on this past year!
· Mary Immaculate Parish is alive and well in the Spirit! We have weekly Adult Ed classes, prayer group meetings, monthly 24 hour adoration, monthly Shepard’s Café with Holy Hour and Confessions, two daily masses, one daily communion service, eight weekend masses, Confession offered every Wednesday evening and Saturday morning, a daily rosary group, weekly praying of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, a happy and dedicated staff and wonderful parishioners!
· Msgr. Andy and I are so blessed to be your priests and on this day we thank you for allowing us to serve you and your Faith needs in such a wonderful environment!
· God bless you all and God bless Mary Immaculate Parish!