Monday, June 13, 2011

It's the vision, stupid!

So the 'State of the Parish' address was all good. Last year's description from leadership regarding our parish finances was quite different: 'bankrupt', financial catastrophe, finances 'unacceptable' and so on. I mean the words used were positively chilling and fear-inducing--almost like it was on purpose.

But, Hallelujah, we have had a complete turnaround! Indeed, the projection for the 2010-2011 year is a mere $30,000 deficit, as opposed to the $134,000 deficit for 2009-2010. This is kinda crazy, but if the parish would just balance the budget each year, there would be no deficit. I know, that's asking too much.

But, since things are sooooo good now financially speaking, then why shouldn't we keep our churches? Why is Immaculate Heart of Mary still for sale? A matter of it being prime commercial real estate and not prime religious real estate, perhaps. The priests and parishioners who built IHM had different priorities.

Why is St. Vincent's still on the chopping block? Oh that's right, three Catholic churches in an area of over 5,000 Catholics is too many. Who wants to maintain all that expensive and troublesome real estate? I mean, a temporary priest shortage is surely justification to eradicate those pesky tabernacles. Except it's not.

But, we are not alone in the struggle to protect and preserve our churches. It's a comfort, albeit a cold comfort, to know that others in the DOR are suffering too. A snapshot here about the issues surrounding the Irondequoit churches. One of the comments in that Cleansing Fire post stood out to me:

Monk says:
Interstate Catholic – Yes, Fr. Tanck’s tent is a foreshadowing of his vision of the future. He and the IPPG discussed at their meetings the desire to have one mega-church in Irondequoit.

So very familiar. To hear that our finances are suddenly sound, but the sale of two of three remaining churches will go forward, says to me that it was never about lack of money, or priest shortages, but it was always about a 'vision'.


  1. Regarding the finances the answer is easy. ASP did not lose $134k in 2010.
    Check out the 2009 & 2010 balance sheets; fund balance went from $692k in 2009 to $665k in 2010. That is only a loss of only $27k. The income statement & balance sheet do not jive.

    They did not really lose $134k in total they showed simply what they wanted the people to see. Fiction. Therefore I would tend to believe the $30k figure primarily because 2011 ends in less than 30 days on 6/30/11 and it is close to what really happened in 2010.
    Vinnies '69

  2. Great post, Gretchen! So true. The more I learn about other parishes in this diocese, the more I realize that it's all about a "vision" and any moral compromise (like presenting distorted information and withholding data) is justified in pursuit of the vision. If you ask questions or don't share the vision, you are a "bad Catholic breaking canon law." Yes, that's quote.

  3. I was especially relieved to hear that we finally have a youth program that is successful and aligned with the Diocese.

    What a slap in the face to those who successfully served our youth for so many years.

  4. Thanks for the clear explanation, Vinnies '69. Very helpful.

    And yes, Susan, it is difficult to see those in authority using worldly means in such a manner. It is destructive in many ways, not least of which is the spiritual health of the parish.

  5. 1:21 And faithfully and humbly and passionately and in accordance to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Attempts to discredit the past youth programs inorder to justify the current programs are pathetic. Seriously. Like we can't see and feel the losses.

  6. Looks like all is well in Mayberry Andy! Now you nice folks just go about your business because that great administration at ASP will take care of everything.

  7. I found it sad that All Saints Academy wasn't even mentioned at all in the State of the Parish address. Why is that? Wasn't mentioned in the special stewardship appeal talk either a couple months back as something ASP supports (I did read it in the bulletin but it wasn't mentioned in the sermon). I just find that disheartening and discouraging...

  8. I believe All Saints Academy was mentioned, in a very positive light, too.

  9. Typically, when people feel the need to share how great everything is going, the opposite is often true. It's the ol', "If I say it's good, they'll think it's good" approach, with hopes that we won't figure it out. Sorry- not biting.

  10. I agree. I think he's trying to create an image of success which is not really there.

    I was not at the Mass. How has the deficit been reduced? Did he mention that? He fired people, but he hired more full time employees. Offerings have not really increased long-term.