Once a year all pastors are required by the Archdiocese of Chicago to publish in their Sunday bulletin a summary of the financial report that is sent to the Archdiocese at the end of the fiscal year. With the change of pastors in July and my needing to get acquainted with procedures of the Archdiocese as well as getting settled into being pastor here at St. Peter's this report is coming to you a little later than the usual time for publishing the report.
This report gives you a summary of where our finances came from in fiscal year 2019-2020 as well as what were our expenses in the previous fiscal year. With the impact of the coronavirus in February 2020 and subsequent shut down of all churches in the Archdiocese soon after, not only were we not able to provide ministerial services (Mass, confessions, programs, etc.) but our usual income to maintain St. Peter's also was greatly affected.
It was through the generous giving of both small and large donations from so many of you since the Spring shutdown that we were able to continue to pray for you all during the shut down and now have been able to re-open on a limited basis to provide Masses, confessions, and prayers for all of you. Fr. Kurt, Br Clarence, and many of our lay staff worked hard to keep St. Peter's going during the shut down.
We want to thank everyone who has contributed in any way to make this past fiscal year possible. We absolutely depend on you to keep our doors open, the programs going, the friars fed and housed, and the liturgies alive and meaningful. You are the mainstay of our existence, and we appreciate your generosity and your continued support.
You will note in this report that our regular weekend and weekday collections only cover a small percentage of our expenses. Our Christmas and Easter Appeals, those who have remembered us in their wills, the many people from near and far who send us occasional donations through the mail, those who contribute monthly through the Friars Legion, and those who made last year's Gala a grand success—all these are sources without which we could not exist. If you have not yet remembered St. Peter’s in your will, please do so in a generous way so that those who come after you will be able to benefit from what St. Peter’s has to offer for the Loop community and for the thousands of visitors who come to our city yearly to join us for Mass and confession.
Though the number of folks working in the Loop as well as visitors and tourists has been greatly reduced since the pandemic began and health restrictions were implemented, we do notice an increase in people in the Loop these days. We have seen an increase in Mass attendance, especially on Sundays, and a growing number of people coming to celebrate God's forgiveness in confessions. We are continuing to monitor health directives from the Archdiocese and City as we explore when we might open up more ways to provide an oasis of prayer here at St. Peter's.
On the expense side, our main outlay is for the support of the friars and for the salaries, health insurance, retirement, and social security of our dedicated lay staff who contribute so much to making our ministry what it is. Our church building is now almost seventy years old, so maintenance and repair is an ongoing issue. Any of you who live or work in an older building know the struggle of keeping plumbing working, repairing roofs, and all the upkeep and updating that must be done to provide a safe and usable space for work and/or residence.
We are required to pay all archdiocesan assessments like every other parish (a percentage of the ordinary income). However, St. Peter’s has never been subsidized by the archdiocese in any way. We will continue to do all we can to lower our expenses and to increase our income while maintaining the quality of our ministry.
In spite of the restrictions of the coronavirus, fewer people and events in the Loop and some technological difficulties the 6th annual St. Peter's in the Loop fund raising Gala was held on Saturday, October 10 virtually via You Tube from the lower meeting room here at St. Peter's. The Gala offered over 100 special items for a silent auction, four extraordinary items for the live auction and an opportunity to help fund the ministry of St. Peter's Church. Folks from the city, suburbs, friends and benefactors from throughout the country provided extraordinary generosity in these difficult times helping us to raise over $200,000 for the support of our ministry here at St. Peter's.
Under the capable guidance of the Gala committee, St. Peter's was able to have our first virtual fund raising event. I am in awe of the tremendous amount of hours and work that went into making this year's Gala possible. The generous response of so many of you to our appeal to provide funds for the important ministry of St. Peter's is a true testament to your participation in the ministries that happen here at 110 West Madison.
As we publish this report from the last fiscal year, I express on behalf of the Franciscan Friars, our dedicated lay staff, faithful volunteers and all who come to St. Peter's for spiritual renewal and strength our deepest gratitude for your financial assistance last year. Your support of St. Peter's in this new fiscal year (2020-2021) is needed now more than ever. Without your support the lights could not shine, the heat & cooling would not work, the dedicated lay employees and volunteers could not work and indeed the doors would not even open each day.
Effective Monday, October 19 those of you wishing to request Mass cards and offer names to be remembered at Masses will be able to do so once again when the church is open by telling the security officer or greeter at the entrance door of your request and going to the front office. Offerings should be by check or exact amount of your offering. We cannot make change at this time. You will also need to stay behind the protective plexiglass shield and maintain a safe distance by having only one person in the office at a time.
In 2013, Pope Francis reminded all members of the Church of our responsibility to protect the common good. He said, "We need to participate for the common good. Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern."
In light of the Pope's reminder, I ask everyone to please DON'T FORGET TO VOTE if you have not done so in this very important election year. Early voting has already begun here in Illinois. Every vote does count and remember, if you do not vote then you are giving up a most valuable right that every citizen of our great country has.....the right to determine our government. The final day to vote is November 3.
Thirty-four years ago (October 27, 1986) Pope John Paul II gathered with various religious leaders from throughout the world in Assisi, the city of St. Francis of Assisi. On that occasion he said: "The coming together of so many religious leaders to pray is in itself an invitation today to the world to become aware that there exists another dimension of peace and another way of promoting it which is not a result of negotiations, political compromises or economic bargaining." He strongly believed that prayer and the witness of the believers, whatever is their tradition, can do a lot for peace in the world. Tuesday on the anniversary of the "Spirit of Assisi," I urge you to take some time and pray for peace and justice for all people of the world.