You probably are already aware of the challenging situation in which one of our neighboring parishes finds itself. The long-serving pastor is being asked to take a leave from the parish while an investigation continues regarding financial questions and practices. Both this man and the parish need our prayers. I write this to tell you about how the finances are handled here at St. Anastasia.
Canon law states that, “The pastor is the proper shepherd of the parish entrusted to him, exercising pastoral care in the community entrusted to him under the authority of the diocesan bishop in whose ministry of Christ he has been called to share; in accord with the norm of the law he carries out for his community the duties of teaching, sanctifying and governing, with the cooperation of other presbyters or deacons and the assistance of lay members of the Christian faithful.”
Therefore, as pastor, I am appointed by Archbishop Vigneron to be responsible for the overall welfare of all of you living within the parish territorial boundaries of St. Anastasia. I am responsible directly to the Archbishop. I collaborate directly with our Parish Pastoral Council and our Finance Council in reaching decisions. It is fundamentally my responsibility to ratify the recommendations once a consensus has been reached regarding plans and policies for St. Anastasia. The PPC and Finance Council are my primary consultative bodies. They work with me on areas of pastoral planning and on financial matters.
Our business manager is also on the Finance Council. I meet with him weekly to go over the finances and to make sure that all appropriate checks and balances are in place. I make sure these are in place, not because I do not trust those who are handling the church’s monies, but because I want to make sure that we keep a clear record and account of all transactions. Therefore, no one can be suspect.
I believe that the parish at large has a right to see the state of our finances. This is why I make sure that the offertory amount and its pattern are published monthly in the Good News. We also publish our financial report annually. The only thing that does not get published (for obvious reasons) is the individual salaries of the staff. In order to keep you informed, a few months ago I also spoke at the end of all the Masses about the state of the parish and our money situation. I was available after all the liturgies to anyone if they had any questions.
I want to remind you that I believe this is not just “my” budget, but it is “ours”. I work very hard to be transparent about where, why and how every penny is spent. You are always welcome to speak to me and/or Brian Burgin, our business manager, if you have any questions.
Again, it is very sad that our neighboring parish and their pastor are in that difficult situation. As pastor, I do all that is stated above so that we will not fall into the same challenges. When we enter into the seminary after answering the call to our vocation, administrating a multi-million dollar budget is often the last thing on our mind. Regardless, it is what we are called to do. Please pray for me and all my brother priests.