November 1, 2020

This past year has been filled with challenges—new and old—as the Covid-19 pandemic has affected each and everyone of us. We had to go three months without Sunday Mass and other Sacraments: many weddings, baptisms, and First Holy Communions had to be rescheduled, with funerals conducted at the funeral homes with only a small group of the family physically present. Despite all this, the human spirit is creative and we found ways to connect people with Sunday worship on YouTube, Zoom, Facebook Live, etc. so that we could pray and worship together as a parish family.

Providentially, God prepared us for many of the challenges we had to face: we added FlockNote as a way to communicate with people through Text and Email; we moved to a new electronic donation platform—Faith Direct—that helps us handle your donations while attending Holy Mass online. Even now, we are not taking in-pew donation to avoid any possible transmission of the virus.

Looking at our financials for this past year we have many bright spots that led to a very healthy operation surplus (*1). True, the parish had a net deficit of $101,783 (*2), but that was because we spent over 1 million dollars to restore the North Tower and install a new church boiler (*3).

Despite Covid-19, our normal parish collections went up, thanks to increased electronic giving (*4). Also unrestricted extraordinary donations increase (*5), especially thanks to a sizeable stock bequest. Thank you so much for your ongoing support—it is inspiring to us to see your support of God’s church in these difficult times.

While our utility bills went down substantially (*6), our ordinary building maintenance went up (*7) as it included new front door hardware, parking lot resurfacing, and a new Museum Room entrance and hospitality area. Increased miscellaneous expenses (*8), include supplies for Covid-19 protocols, expenses related to running Alpha and parish Feastday celebration, etc.

On the school side, due to Covid-19 our tuition decreased slightly (*9), because we had no summer camp. Thanks to those who chose to send Illinois Tax dollars to St. Mary of the Angels School through the Illinois State Tax Credit Scholarship, we received over $300,000 (*10) to support children of families who cannot afford to pay full tuition in the future. That enabled us to hold off using Father Hilary Scholarships this year (*11) and to reserve this money for future scholarships for parishioners unable to pay full Catholic School tuition (*12).

We took advantage of a vacant school during the pandemic to upgrade lighting, plumbing, redo some bathrooms, and resurface the playground area. For this reason some building and maintenance costs rose (*13). This number includes the installation of a new STEM and Science Lab. Increased miscellaneous expenses (*14) is due to increase spending on marketing efforts, including new signage and online marketing.

Due to the Covid-19 protocols, we have not been taking second collections for special causes outside our parish (*15). We are coming up with a plan to address this.

Remaining a Vital Parish—Things You Can Do

As we enter Renew My Church, we all want to see St. Mary of the Angels grow and to bring more people to Christ. How? First, let’s renew our hearts, praying for the parish each day. Then let us focus on our mission to carry out God’s will, inviting our friends to join us for Mass at St. Mary of the Angels. The more who experience the beauty of our church, the Sacraments, and God’s Word the more the parish will grow. Finally, let us increase our generosity. I suggest we all pray for pay-raises, promising God to give 50% of the increase to him. Let us all do this until our whole parish is tithing 10 percent. You can also signup for Illinois State Tax Credit Scholarship and get 75% of your donation returned as credit on your Illinois State Tax bill.

I thank God, who always provides, and I thank each one of you for doing your part to be his good sons and daughters. May each Person of the Blessed Trinity bless you and your loved ones.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. John R. Waiss


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