Dear Fellow Parishioners of Saint Joseph-Saint Pius X Parish, Well here we are in the most wonderful time of year and here I am bringing news of great concern instead of great cheer. Of course, what I have to share is about money and nobody likes to hear their pastor speak of such a worldly thing as money, especially when we have to get our presents for family and friends. I want you to know that the same is true for me and that I enjoy speaking to you about money at least as little as you like to hear it. The fact is however that we cannot live in this world without money and our Parish is in that same world. It has expenses just like all of us do. We are in dire straits here in our Parish, maybe even at a breaking point.
Last year despite our closing two buildings for a great portion of the winter, we still could not manage to balance our income with our expenses. This resulted in our parish debt growing further. The expenses actually went down last year despite a winter of record cold and snowfall. At the same time our Income fell at a greater rate. It is becoming apparent that we might not be able to maintain ourselves as a parish. I know that I have spoken to you before about increasing your weekly donations and I honestly believe that we are doing our best at that: meaning I do not think that we can get any more blood from that stone. If that is true, then we are at the proverbially crossroad of the rock and the hard place. If this is true, the Bishop might not be left with any other choice except to close our parish. It is with that in mind that I will now suggest to all of you a possible solution to our common problem. Our solution does not have to lie in our bank accounts, but rather in our contact lists. You see all of the churches in our area were built because they were needed. At one time all of these churches were filled and no more people lived in Leicester than do now! If that is the case, then why are our churches not filled now? Well, there are many complicated answers to that question, which I am sure many of you could answer better than me, but there is also a very simple one that requires our attention and energy immediately; they haven’t been invited!
Think about it. When was the last time you invited someone to church? Have you ever invited someone? The fact is that every denomination today has more people who do not attend their churches than do. We as Catholics have the largest numbers of those non participants. Our invitation to these good men and women has to be given with the belief that church attendance is of some benefit to them. In order to believe that we need to understand what we get from attending church and practicing our faith. The better we are able to understand what we get from our church, the more authentic our invitation will be given and received. There will be some of us who invite one or two people and they respond immediately and return to their faith. There will also be many of us who extend invitations and they seem to fall on deaf ears. In either case the effort is the same. It is an extended hand, a smile, a kind word and a prayer. Give it a try and who knows, you might just save your church in the process.
- Fr. Rob