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COVID-19 Updates

from fathers desk

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

One weekend a year we share the Annual Financial Report. While some may prefer not to speak of money in church, it is valuable to know how our parish is doing, from a fiscal perspective. There are probably even more questions this year, with the school closing and the pandemic. Over the course of this past year, rumors cropped up like dandelions and spread on the winds of uncertainty. Alone I cannot say or do enough to dispel them. The best way to root them out is for our whole parish family to be well-informed. We can weed out the rumors together!

God has been good to our parish. Two surprise gifts really helped us in the middle of the pandemic. First, we received a generous gift of $75,000 from Saint John Parish in Lakehurst NJ. (Fr. Bernie moved to St. John’s from OLPH and then retired from there a few years back. My friend, Fr. Jim O’Neill is the pastor there now. I know he would be happy to hear how grateful we are for his parish’s generosity. Feel free to send him a note: Saint John’s Parish / 619 Chestnut St / Lakehurst, NJ 08733). Second, with guidance from our diocese we applied for and received the PPP loan for $170,000. This loan is NOT reflected in our annual financial report figures. We anticipate that the loan will be fully forgiven. Those two surprise infusions were a real Godsend for us.

Regarding finances, we are all stewards of God’s gifts. You are stewards of God’s blessings to you, and we strive to best use the resources you entrust to us. We recognize that we are stewards of your treasure. We are deeply grateful for the way you have supported our parish through the pandemic. You have shown real tenacity and grit! I thank you for your commitment to our parish family. Let’s look forward a bit.

The hard but necessary decision to close our school greatly helped us to close budget shortfalls, but it still looks like we will not be able to meet all our financial obligations for the 2020–2021 fiscal year (the current year). Our biggest expenses moving forward are maintenance, upkeep, and insurances on our buildings. Right now, we have more space than we really need to effectively minister to our people. Leasing some of our space would help our bottomline, but so far plans have not come to fruition with potential partners. We are in the process of having the building appraised so as to ascertain its true value.

We are also striving to encourage people in our community who are not active to return to our parish family. Hard during a pandemic for sure. You are our best representative to tell the good things happening at OLPH. If you like what is going on, please spread the word!

One of the ways we seek to grow our base and increase our outreach is through our newly forming Small Groups. As a family of faith, we really grow and deepen in our faith when given the opportunity to talk and share about our walk with Jesus. This is a weekly one–hour commitment to talk about how we see grace working in our lives, which helps us to grow. John Klarmann is heading up this endeavor and I would invite you to be open to this beautiful invitation to grow with Jesus and to grow closer with members in our parish. Small groups make our big church seem small and I hope you will participate and invite some friends to enter into the journey with you.

There is a lot in front of us here at OLPH, in “the Shade.” We are at the beginning of a transformation process. I look forward to working with you to share in the mission of our parish. We can concentrate on living and spreading the Gospel, or as I like to say, sharing God’s love in our little corner of the world. What an adventure! Won’t you join us on the next stage of our 100 year journey with the Lord?

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Wilson