Sacrificial Giving Letter, Holy Family Parish, Seattle
October 28, 1999
In Holy Family Parish, as is the case throughout the Archdiocese of Seattle, November is dedicated to Stewardship. It is no accident that we do this during the month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving. Stewardship has been defined as "an attitude of gratitude." If we have that sense of thankfulness for the gifts we have received, we naturally tend to share them with others. In other words, we want to become good stewards of what God has given us.
On the first weekend of November I have asked Mr. Tom Swim to give a short presentation at the announcement time. Since August Tom has been serving as interim parish administator. He brings to that position valuable experience as a retired bank manager. Tom has helped me get a clearer picture of our parish finances. Because of some major expenses last year (especially the need to replace of two of our boilers) we are currently facing a very tight cash flow situation. We made this known to Holy Family parishioners and you have shown an increased financial giving in the first collection of our Masses. Still, we are far from being on a solid footing and we need the support of each and every parishioners.
Financial giving is an important part of our Stewardship, but it is not the whole of it. On the second Sunday of November a young couple from our parish will share the story of their own response to Stewardship. I believe their testimony will motivate us all to give more deeply of our time, talent and treasure. Everything we possess ultimately comes from God himself and in gratitude we return to him what we have received. Enclosed is a sample of the pledge card we will be asking you to fill out on that Sunday or the following. On that Sunday we will also have a list of possible ways of sharing the gifts of time and talent. For now I am simply asking you to reflect on all that you have been blessed with and to consider how you might make a return to the Lord for his goodness.
You no doubt have heard that our Building Discernment Committee has been studying the needs of our parish. We must first do some major seismic upgrades to our parish school. We received a grant of $200,000 from the Gates Foundation which will cover approximately 40% of the projected expense. We are looking for other sources of funding, as well as calling upon the generosity of our school families. At the same time the Discernment Committee is focusing on the need for a new gymnasium which can serve as a parish hall and multi-purpose facility. To some it seems like a huge project but if we all pull together we can accomplish great things for the benefit of our children and the needs of all who call Holy Family their home.
We have grown greatly in recent years: from a weekend Mass attendance of 1700 in 1995 to over 2400 this year. At the same time the number of registered households has gone from 1200 to close to 1900. Since 1995 our total ordinary income has risen from $405,000 to over $500,000. Still expenses, both expected and unexpected, have increased greatly. Unexpected expenses include the boilers mentioned above. Expected expenses have been bringing our teachers' salaries more in line with the neigboring Catholic schools, something we have accomplished over the past two years. However in doing all this, we have actually had to reduce our parish staff and cut back on many other needs. We need the support of each and every parishioner if Holy Family is going to realize its mission to bring God's word, his love and his healing to those who are reaching out to him.
Please spend some time prayerfully considering the gifts you have received from God and how you wish to make a return him for what you have received. You may be facing problems at this time and wonder how you can possibly extend yourself. Still, it is important to remember that God cannot ever be outdone in generosity. Often the solution to our problems is to make an act of faith and share more deeply of the goodness he has freely poured out.
My prayers for each of you and your families. God bless you.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Phillip Bloom
P.S. By filling out the enclosed card you will be helping us greatly in our parish financial planning. Even if you are not able to make a pledge at this time - or wish to make it just between you and God - please fill out the card and bring it with you to Mass or drop it off at the parish rectory. Your pledge is kept confidential and if your circumstances change in some way, we understand that your pledge may also change.