Dear St. Isidore Family,
The words above say all about where we would like to go as a parish family. Our parish will celebrate its 60th Anniversary next June. It is a rich history of growth, traditions, and challenges. From the remarkable beginnings of a group of dedicated people not giving up until the Archdiocese heard and responded to their request to start a new parish through construction of many buildings and tremendous growth in the number of members, St. Isidore has flourished.
Our rich history presents a starting point for where we want to go into the future. We want the people who have not been worshiping with us to connect with God. We want to be able to reach out to others in need whether the need is material or spiritual. We want to build a community of disciples of Jesus to go about supporting each other to connect with God and reach others.
Unfortunately the rich past has not continued the momentum it once had. We have noticed a steady reduction in attendees at weekend worship. The number of children in Religious Formation and receiving the sacraments has steadily declined. Our dedicated volunteers in the ministries are aging and younger people (as our current volunteers once were) are not coming forward to replace those that no longer can. A single area increasing is the number of funerals.
To turn the trend back to making St. Isidore a family in the spirit of our dedicated group of founders, we are planning several changes in our worship, service to others, and community building. The path to doing this will need your help.
Earlier you received a State of The Parish brochure detailing a lot of what we do. It also contained details of our finances. What you may or may not have noticed, the Offertory collections for last year did not meet the planned budget and were less than the previous year. Our expenses however have increased. The decreases in collections and increases in expenses have been happening for several years. To make changes in our programs to connect – reach – build we will need additional funds. To make the changes we ask you to help in the spirit of Catholic Stewardship.
Stewardship is not about paying bills. Stewardship is not about the size of our checking and saving accounts. Stewardship is about doing the work Christ calls us to do in spreading the Good News.
Through God’s grace and your generosity, we have been able to build and pay for a beautiful facility. We have been able to bring education and sacrament to thousands of children through the years. We have been able to help many through our charitable outreach and St. Vincent DePaul donations. Through God’s grace we can do more as we move into the future.
Our Finance Council has struggled with our income decrease and expense increases over the past year. With their support and the support of the Parish Pastoral Council, we will begin a program to ask everyone how they will help with an increase in weekly collections. The decision to do this did not come easily. Many alternatives were considered but none would have the impact of this one. A major reason was the reduction in the number of weekly envelopes due to decreasing attendance. To change that trend, connect – reach – build is needed, but to do it, added funding is needed.
Each family will be asked to complete and turn in the commitment card included in the mailing you will receive this week at Masses on October 29 and 30. Before doing this I ask you to pray about how you are returning the gifts and graces you have received from God. Discuss the decision as a family. No matter what your decision is, please let us know by filling out and returning the card. No matter what your decision is, please realize we appreciate it and thank you for taking the time to consider.
In closing, please realize that this is a difficult thing for me to do personally. In the time I have been at St. Isidore I have avoided talking about “money” topics. About the only time I can think of is the annual CSA pledge drive. In my years of ministry I have avoided the topic because I don’t like to bring it up. I do this now because I believe in what we want to do implementing connect – reach – build and I believe in you as a parish family willing to help. I thank you in advance for your support.