Letter from Fr. Tom

Dear Parishioners,

Thank you for making St. Francis Parish a vibrant community. By attending Mass each week and participating in the sacramental life of the Church, by engaging the faith formation and faith sharing opportunities provided, by supporting our various outreach and service efforts, by joining our regular social events, and by contributing financially to our ministry, you ensure that our community continues to grow and thrive.

As you have probably noticed, costs of goods and services have gone up over the last year or more. These increased costs have affected our ministry at St. Francis. In particular, increased food costs and energy costs have driven up our expenses. Our increased activity at the parish has led to an increase in the number of people working at St. Francis and a corresponding increase in personnel costs.

While our expenses have increased, our revenue has not kept pace. Our expenses are higher than our revenue at this time.
We need to increase our revenues that we receive from our collections by about 10%. I am asking each household to raise their contribution by 5%-10%. I am also asking any household that is not contributing at this point to start contributing at least $25 a week.

For every 200 families that raise their contributions by $10 per week the Parish will receive an additional $104,000 in revenue per year. (200 x $10 = $2000 additional dollars per week; $2000 x 52 weeks = $104,000 per year)
The Old Testament set up the standard of a tithe – 10% of our income dedicated to the work of God. One of the precepts of the Church is that each Catholic is supposed to support one’s local parish. One way to meet both these obligations is for half of the tithe, 5% of one’s income, to be given to support the parish while the other half is available for other charitable work.
Following this schema, if a person makes $24,000 a year, 5% of this income equals $1,200. Dividing this number by 12 months gives us $100 per month and $25 per week.

If 50 households that are not currently contributing financially start giving $25 each week, the parish would receive an additional $60,000 in revenue each year. ($1,200 per year x 50 = $60,000).

I make my contribution via on-line giving through Push Pay. On-line giving is good because it provides a consistent stream of revenue for the parish. The problem is that oftentimes once we set up our on-line gift, we let it go and forget about it. I know that is what happened to me. I set up my gift to St. Francis years ago then did not review my giving again until recently. After reviewing my giving, I increased it 10%.

If you give online, please, review your giving and consider a 5%-10% increase. Also, put a reminder on your calendar to review your on-line giving yearly.

If you do not give online, consider doing so, and don’t forget the yearly review.

If you have any questions about online giving or need help setting it up, you can contact Kristen Battocletti (205-758-5672) in the Church office.

A team of parishioners has agreed to make follow up calls for this campaign. They will call you over the next month or so to encourage you to participate in the campaign and to field questions you may have.

By casting a wide net with many families increasing their contributions a little, the parish can significantly increase our revenues over the coming year.

These revenues will support our ministries such as our FOCUS bible studies for our University students (participation in which has increased from 310 students 4 years ago to 450 students this past year), our Sunday evening meals at which we feed 150 students or more, and our various retreat opportunities such as our traditional Search retreat and our Square One retreat for new freshmen.

Besides our more robust campus ministry, we have increased our opportunities for our youth including having members of our middle school youth group and members of our high school youth group attend a Life Teen camp in Georgia during the last couple of summers.

For our resident parishioners we have seen an increase in our small group faith sharing opportunities. Men of St. Joseph has added a Tuesday evening option to its traditional early Friday morning meeting. Walking with Purpose provides women of the parish the chance to gather and learn from each other both on Wednesday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Other groups have also formed or are in the process of forming.

In the end, Jesus has asked us to go beyond what the law requires. He has asked us to be disciples, which is an all in proposition. He wants us to orient ourselves, our lives, our families, our relationships, our work, our entertainment, everything about us towards him, towards the Kingdom, and towards his Father and ours.

Thank you again for your participation in the life of our parish and thank you for your consideration of this campaign.

In the Peace of Christ,
Fr. Tom Ackerman,