Sunday, August 01, 2010

Good Counsel

Vacation. I know that is what is on the minds of many of you right now – a vacation about to begin, or perhaps recently enjoyed, and maybe, for the very lucky, both. It is what we do in the summer, especially if someone in the family is on an academic schedule.

Strangely enough, that is not our focus here at Saint Bernadette Central. While the school is quiet and Father DeRosa has been traipsing about in shorts far more than one would think prudent, we have been dealing with matters fiscal.

You see, rather like the Federal government and all associated with it do on 30 September, we of the Archdiocese of Washington end our fiscal year on 30 June. That means that over the last month, we have been finalizing our tallies on all the material aspects of this spiritual undertaking that is our happy parish. Our budgets have to be finalized, and our accounts have to be reckoned and rendered in our Annual Report to the Archdiocese.

You may not realize this, but over the course of one fiscal year almost five million dollars move through our church and school. Sixty-five people are employed here. And the Archdiocese of Washington makes certain that every penny and every person are carefully shepherded through their connection with us, and every bit of it is documented. The reason I am not a quivering mass of pummeled protoplasm today is largely due to two entities about which you probably do not think very often. One is our parish business manager, Delfina Castro. The other is our Finance Council.

Delfina handles all of these management and reporting tasks with aplomb. That’s a good thing, too, because all that information is what our Finance Council needs to make good recommendations to me, which is what I need to make good decisions.

Delfina and I, along with Mrs. Cheri Wood, the school’s principal, sat down with the Finance Council for our year-end meeting this week. We reviewed everything we were submitting about last year and this coming year, along with the changing circumstances that keep even our best planning on its toes.

So on a sultry summer evening when many folks would have preferred to be at the pool, ten of us sat around the conference table in our rectory meeting room, reviewing documents and projections, asking questions and making suggestions, and in the end, taking responsibility for stewardship of the resources that make this parish possible.

There is a lot of financial, accounting, managerial, and legal experience in that group, and operational insight and personal understanding to boot. What unites them is their care for the Church and her mission, and for you and me, her members. There is an awful lot of goodwill and good nature, too, which means that what could be burdensome or boring is in reality enjoyable. And it gives me insights, understanding, and confidence in which I truly rejoice. You may never see our Business Manager or Finance Council at work, but you need to know that they do – and well.

The good news is that there is good news; we are in pretty sound shape. But I am not going to go into that now. It will all come in the annual report to you, the parishioners, which we will publish in the fall – when everyone is back from vacation.

Monsignor Smith

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