Today’s second reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Philippians offers my favorite quote from St. Paul: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” (4:13). Those words really encourage me in good and bad moments in my ministry and in life.
I just had the report of my ministerial evaluation, based on feedback from parish staff and some parish leaders and parishioners. This is the second time in my priestly life that I had an evaluation. The first one was in 2008, when I was an associate pastor at St. Benedict in Blue Island. So, this is the first evaluation I have as pastor. It has been enlightening and challenging in different ways. The evaluation is helping me to see from different perspectives, because, unfortunately, I do not receive direct feedback on a regular basis. The next step, after analyzing your feedback is to set up some goals that I need to work at in order to be a better priest and pastor. I want to say thanks to all of you who took the time to submit the survey and the evaluation. I really appreciate your honest opinion and observations of my ministry here at Blessed Sacrament. I hope and pray that I will become a better pastor, with my limitations as human being, but with the trust that I am going to do my best because the Lord is giving me strength.
Today you will find in the bulletin the financial report of fiscal year 2017 (from July 2016 to June 2017). This is the first year, since we are Blessed Sacrament Parish, we did not end with a deficit. For the last 8 years, every year we ended with negative balances from $30,000 to $90,000. This year we ended with a Net Income of $33,970. Our biggest expenses are salaries, heating fuel (gas), property insurance, and Archdiocesan Assessments. Because of the adjustments to our personnel, salary expenses are reduced this fiscal year, and as I mentioned two weeks ago, by replacing some of the steam traps, gas expenses will be lower this year. There is not much we can do about Insurance of our property and assessments for the Archdiocese. Our healthy finances are the consequence of the Turn Around program from the Archdiocese. It is still a long way to having a more vibrant and vital community, but I believe we are on the right track. At least, we do not need to worry much about getting in more debt.
Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
Every year we have a great number of people helping us with their time and talents in the activities we have as a faith community. From the celebration of the Eucharist to fundraising events, we have a good number of parishioners assisting us. As we do every year, we want to say ‘Thank You” to all our volunteers: Catechists, Choir members, Altar Servers, Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, Ushers, people who help set up and run the Fish fry, St Patrick & St. Joseph Dinner, International Night, Noche Mexicana, Anniversary Banquet, Summer Fest, Fiesta Mexicana, Posadas, Novena and Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Winner a Day Raffle, Food sales or any other event, members of the Hispanic Committee, Hall Rental Committee, Liturgical Committee, Parish Council, Financial Council. Thank you for sharing your gifts with our parish community and I hope you will make time to come with your family for dinner this Thursday, October 19, at 6:00 p.m. It promises to be a great time.