Dear Fellow Parishioners,
Rather than use homily time, I would like to use The Pastor’s Desk for an update on a few matters concerning the workings of the parish.
This past summer, two valued and long-time staff members retired: Kim Williams, our Office Manager and Bookkeeper, and Rose Marie Woodruff, our Director of Religious Education. Two existing staff members have been promoted to those positions: Noelia Gonzalez as Office Manager and Abraham Solar as Director of Religious Education (now for both English and Spanish). We will be hiring a part-time assistant to administer our RE program, which now serves over 400 children and young adults. Cristina Ruiz will continue as Sacramental Secretary and all-around office support.
I have hired an independent bookkeeper, with a home office in Rohnert Park, to do parish accounting. She already works for two other parishes, and comes highly recommended. Happily, she requires no special training or desk space in the rectory.
During COVID, I gave highest priority to protecting you from illness and our staff from pay cuts. Thanks to your help, we were able to do both — many parishes did not. Now, with inflation and increased wage requirements upon us, I have just given our staff their first raise since 2016. (There have been occasional bonuses, but no permanent raises.)
Part of this raise will be paid for by the changes mentioned above, reducing the staff by the equivalent of one full-time position. However, the remainder eventually may require increased income from contributions and gifts to the parish. (I always try to cut expenses before asking for more income.) Aware that inflation hits us all, I still may need to make one of my rare financial appeals for an increase in weekly and holiday giving. I am grateful for your support of our shared ministries, and I’m especially grateful to those who take the additional trouble to mail or drop off their weekly envelopes. (A bigger, stronger mailbox is on the way!)
October is also the traditional time for the Parish Finance Committee to issue its annual parish finance report. Last year, that was not possible due to the extended illness of a key staff member. This year, with our new bookkeeper now in place, I have directed a complete and detailed review of all parish finances. This is something I always do when I go to a new parish or school as pastor. When I arrived here in 2017, our two schools needed immediate attention. Then COVID hit, so I postponed the parish audit twice in a row. In the meantime, five years of finance meetings have meant monthly reports and close monitoring of growing parish assets, with all controls in place. As we complete the transition to our new bookkeeper, I ask and appreciate your continued patience as we finalize the next Parish Financial Report, which will be both complete and encouraging.
Fr. Bill Donahue