Presented Oct. 8, 2017

Good morning. I am Jim Schnell.

I had the honor of serving on the Finance Council here at St. Louis from 2008-2016, with the last seven of those years as chair. In that capacity, Fr. Bob has asked me to speak with you today about Parish finances, the kickoff of the annual CMA campaign this weekend, the role of your parish contributions in our ongoing success, and lastly the benefits of our parish EFT option for supporting the parish.

First, Fr. Bob and I offer a heartfelt and genuine thank you. Thank you for the wonderful history of extraordinary and generous contributions you have and continue to provide. This support allows us to maintain this extraordinary campus for spiritual worship and growth to all generations. I have seen firsthand how blessed and supported this parish is. That is the key reason why it has been such an honor to serve here and provide a financial framework for the amazingly wide range of successful missions that are the heart of St. Louis parish. We can be proud of the tireless efforts put forth by hundreds of volunteers and parish staff who work diligently and passionately to serve our parish, families, friends, neighbors and, most poignantly, as Pope Francs and Bishop Matano so articulately direct us, to serve those among us who are most in need of our bountiful sharing.
Let me stop for a moment to personally thank Fr. Bob, Fr. Juan, priests we have had and have in residence here, and in absentia, Pope Francis and Bishop Matano, who help us connect to the wisdom of the church, the scriptures, and who guide us through our spiritual journey of life. Please join me in a round of applause to thank those who lead our church and bring all of this together on our behalves.

Now, what is it that we contribute towards and how do we pay for all of this each year?

St. Louis parish, St. Louis school, and Saints Place all enjoy a beautifully and wonderfully maintained campus. The financial value of all that you see is approximately $20 million dollars. The spiritual value, priceless. While there are no debt service requirements against any of our real property, maintaining this campus requires significant annual repair and maintenance costs along with planned replenishment/replacement capital costs.

St. Louis, all missions combined, ended the most recent fiscal year with solid cash and investment accounts, which are a significant piece of the long range protection for our missions and physical plant. The amount has stayed rather steady over the past ten years, but we have not been able to grow it due to required maintenance.

Operationally, the parish is (in effect) a small business with a combined budget of nearly $4 million dollars, which employs 78 full and part time people throughout all the ministries, including the school. We ended the year with a modest operating surplus, and this was the 8th time out of the past ten years that we have achieved that positive result. While our parish has enjoyed stability in the past, it is only through your future support that we will be able to continue to do so. That is why it is important to thank everyone for past success, but also raise awareness of the challenges ahead, and ultimately ask everyone at least once each year to reflect on their contributions.

To put parish donor demographics in perspective:

  • We currently have 1,600 families registered here at St. Louis.
  • Among those families, 1,200 use envelopes or EFT.
  • Of the 1,600 families, 550 are annual donors to the CMA.

These numbers have been rather steady for ten years, while increasing over the last three years.

Now even though parishes operate independently, we all come together each fall to help support the broader missions operating at the diocesan level. Let me tell you first hand, that those broader missions funded by the CMA include ministries and services that are essential to our success here in the parish. Services our school depend on, chaplaincies at our hospitals, and campuses where our sons and daughters go to college, training programs, IT and HR support to our parish office, the list goes on. Not to mention the ministries to serve the poor around our diocese that we all come together as a church to support.

Our finance council and hospitality committee are holding light receptions after our Sunday morning Masses, with coffee, juice, fruit, muffins, bagels and donuts to help celebrate our parish, raise further awareness of our efforts, the CMA campaign, and to provide resources to answer  any further questions you may have.
As a takeaway from today, this fall we are asking everyone to seriously consider joining our efforts in one of the following three ways:
If you are one of the 550 who annually support the CMA, thank you! Please do so again this year, and if you can increase your support, God bless you! If you haven’t supported the CMA in the past, please consider making a first time pledge. If each family who has not pledged in the past were to contribute $50, it would be tremendously helpful.  Our share of the diocesan CMA goal is $251,896, a 3% increase over last year.

Secondly, please consider utilizing the parish EFT donor process vs envelopes or cash as your means of contributing. We experience significant cash flow swings at times of the year due to variations in Mass attendance. Electronic Fund Transfer has been in place here for 15 years, and can be a win-win for both the parish and parishioner.
Lastly, this is also a time of year when we typically ask our parishioners to revisit their regular contribution efforts to see whether your personal budget may allow for an increased gift in the upcoming year.

Let me conclude by once again thanking you for your part in making St. Louis such a special place to worship. We are truly blessed to be able to offer the array of programs, opportunities and services we do, and it is all because of you.  Please stop by the reception after Mass to socialize, meet some new people, and take a pledge card for this year’s

CMA. Thank you, and God bless you!