Jottings from Fr. J.J.

WHAT STATE ARE WE REALLY IN?!

This is a big one folks! This weekend is a significant moment for us, St. Anastasia Parish. We get to celebrate a mortgage burning. Arriving as your pastor in 2007, I wanted to know what we were all about. I certainly knew that we owed approximately $1.6 million (that was one of the first things of which Cardinal Maida made sure I was aware), but I wasn’t sure who “we” were. So, soon after I moved in, I called a town hall meeting to find out where we have been, where we are now, and where we wanted to go.   

Next the parish council took all the info and after months of work, we set 3-5 year goals for ourselves. This was another significant moment for us, because it really streamlined our purpose as a parish and clarified our mission. Because of these focus areas, we:  have grown the number of volunteers significantly, as well as grown in our community service; we established both an Education and Christian Service commission (which had been missing); improved and nurtured specific groups in need: Seniors, Young Adults, Evangelization; increased social opportunities, which built community spirit; improved our outreach and P.R. by developing a better website and bulletin; trained all Commissions in expectations and requirements (i.e. we empowered them); and improved the process of welcoming new parishioners, to name just a few.

The fourth goal which we set for ourselves was to eliminate our debt and improve our capital assets. When I arrived, we were paying $80,000 in interest annually. Originally scheduled to be debt free in 2017 thru yearly payments of $160,000 (out of our savings), we increased the amount to get out of hock sooner. One year, we increased the payment to $300,000. Also, in 2010, the Archdiocese implemented the Changing Lives Together (CLT) initiative to help support our parish and stabilize the Archdiocese. Our goal was $1,261,502. We pledged $850,544 with $622,867 paid to date. Utilizing these funds, we eliminated our debt over 3 years early, thus, our celebration this weekend!

Where did our debt come from? Founded in 1968 with 199 families, we celebrated Mass in homes and local gyms until the first church (now the Davidson Center) was completed in 1970. With the staff and ministries increasing every year, new facilities needed to be built: a rectory in 1972 and a second worship space (St. Anastasia South) on Big Beaver in 1975, the present church in 1980, the present parish center offices, library, pantry, and class rooms in 1987, and finally the Pastoral Center, the gym, additional offices, and rectory needed to be built in 2003 when we grew to over 3,000 families.

So, now what? I want to remind you that the Parish Council has set up a whole new set of goals. These are on our website and deal with everything from evangelization, building community, education, social media and communication, and improving our physical plant. These were drawn from our “Dream Big” opportunity. During CLT, we asked you to dream big and tell us more about what you would like to see happen at St. Anastasia.  Over the last couple of years we have addressed many of your wants (enhancing our middle school ministry, ministering to our growing Hispanic population, adding classes for our special needs kids, and hosting the homeless) but there is still more to be done.

A committee has been formed to continue to address your “Dream Big” suggestions. We DO NOT want to go back into debt. Presently, we are about $40,000 behind in our yearly budget, but we are not eliminating ministries. So, once we build up our bank account again, areas that are under consideration are refreshing our worship and gathering spaces, and educating and forming the entire parish family to embrace a truly biblical Discipleship/ Stewardship spirituality. We want your suggestions, so drop us an email.

Thank you for helping to make St. Anastasia what it is: a vibrant, prayerful, welcoming, and growing community that serves our Lord. I hope to see you at the parties that follow each of the Masses this weekend.

God bless,
Fr. J.J.