Fr. Cole's Message for January 10, 2021
St. Peter Roman Catholic Parish Family,
This certainly has been a challenging past year to put it mildly but together as a parish community we faced those challenges, and I cannot be thankful enough for your ongoing support. I am awed at the outpouring of financial assistance we have received throughout this past year’s quarantine as many of you would drop envelopes in the mailbox or send them in. For those who have still not yet returned to Sunday Masses, I am astounded by your continued support through weekly and monthly giving. THANK YOU ALL!
Between your generosity and the Payroll Protection Loan we anticipate will be forgiven, we were thankfully able to finish this past Fiscal Year which ran from September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2020 with a $160,682 surplus. We were able to fulfill all our diocesan obligations (Priest Pension, Assessment, Insurance) and have a positive cash balance going forward into the 2020-21 fiscal year. Understandably, much being attributed to the pandemic, our Offertory saw a decrease of 22% or $94,829. Finally, our Capital Campaign pledges are still coming in as we wind up this special drive!
Looking ahead we have many challenges before us but I am confident that we can meet them together head-on! As a parish we are projecting for the September 1, 2020-August 31, 2021 Fiscal Year an operating deficit of $284,863. Our subsidy for the school will increase to $425,357 as we will not be receiving funds under the Payroll Protection Plan, government and diocesan support for schools will decrease, additional instructional staff is needed due to government mandated smaller class sizes, and costs have increased due to the pandemic.
Parish and school leadership are diligently working to reduce expenses. Our bookkeeper is now attending finance meetings to bring added insights and explanations, we have changed phone companies for a substantially reduced rate, scrutinized our utility bills, froze wages for this Fiscal Year, eliminated tuition discounts, changed companies holding copier leases, and cancelled cable in the rectory. A benefit of the change in Mass Schedule is that extra clergy costs will be reduced. Personally, this past Stewardship Sunday, I have also preached on time and talent giving a brief update on treasure, our financial picture.
I would like to thank our Finance Committee Members, bookkeeper, and all of you for your faithfulness. Often, we hear the importance of being ‘prepared for a rainy day.’ I cannot imagine a rainier day than a worldwide pandemic that has brought many aspects of our lives to a standstill. We will get through this and will do so stronger and more informed. As always if you have any questions or would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact me at the rectory or via email at [email protected]
In Christ’s Peace,
Rev. Cole Webster
Fr. Cole's Message for January 3, 2021
St. Peter Parish Family,
Let us begin our New Year with thanksgiving! First and foremost, thank you to all who joined us, physically and virtually, for our Christmas Masses as we celebrated the birth of our Savior. Thank you to all who participated in making our celebration so special. Those who so beautifully decorated our church buildings – Thank you! Our guest priest presiders, those who cleaned, and those who checked-in parishioners - Thank you! Our altar servers, lectors, eucharistic ministers, cantors, ushers, and musicians – Thank you! May Christ who has been reborn in our hearts guide us this new year as we unite ourselves to the Paschal Mystery that takes us through the cross to the glory of resurrection!
We are kicking off 2021 here at St. Peter’s Parish with a running start! Our four sessions of Faith Formation will be socially distancing in the church this week to review the Mass, St. Peter School students resume classes this Monday, and our Finance Committee meets this Tuesday. My hope and prayer for 2021 is that this pandemic subsides and that all of us can come together again for worship and enjoyment, for prayer and catechesis. The Church epitomizes itself when we, the People of God, are gathered around God’s holy altar, it is where we all belong, it is where all are welcome!
This weekend we celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord when Christ was manifest to the Gentiles, the three kings. To celebrate this feast, we pray and renew our commitment that Christ be manifest in our homes which we do through a home blessing and the intercession of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. At all Masses this weekend chalk will be blessed for you to take and bless your house, a ritual is provided for you in this bulletin. This tradition gives us a wonderful reason to gather as a family, to pray together, and evangelize. To anyone who asks why there is chalk over your doors you can say that we pray for Christ to evermore reveal himself to us and that all our comings and goings may be blessed!
Unto us a Savior is Born!
Fr. Cole's Message for December 20, 2020
St. Peter Parish Family,
Many, if not all of us rely on traditions of some kind to keep us rooted, most especially, during the Christmas season. 2020 has been a trying year for all of us and it is times such as these that we can let our traditions carry us. One of my favorite traditions is the Polish Wigilia meal. Traditionally, it is celebrated on Christmas Eve, but as a priest I have always celebrated a week early. This year, while it will not be the same large gathering, I will still gather with a small group of loved ones, the Infancy narrative from Luke’s Gospel will still be read, bread (Oplatek) will still be shared, and a traditional Polish meal enjoyed. Emmanuel – God is with us.
While our celebrations may not be the same this year, God remains constant and our traditions help us to focus on the deeper meaning of the season. Why do we put lights on our houses and pull a tree inside? We light up our houses because it is Jesus who said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life,” John 8:12. We bring trees into our house to remind us of everlasting life Christ came to extend to us which is famously expressed in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” In the person of Jesus we have received the greatest gift of love that we could ever receive and by exchanging gifts we share the love of God with one another. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:8. Finally, our homes are not complete without visually expressing the meaning of Christmas with a nativity scene. No matter how different Christmas may be this year, nevertheless, “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger,” Luke 2:11-12.
Through the up’s and down’s one fact remains, Emmanuel – God is with us! With our family members who may not be present, God is with them. If we are unable to physically attend Mass, the Spirit of God is with us. In the Eucharistic Bread, God is with us. May we dive into the meaning of the season this year and let our traditions carry us so that we can indeed experience the hope, comfort, and joy that faith in our Incarnate God offers!
On behalf of all of us here at St. Peter’s R.C. Parish, I wish you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Cheerfully in Christ,
Fr. Cole's Message for November 29, 2020
St. Peter Parish Family,
As we begin a new liturgical year, we begin a season of hope and preparation. As human beings we cannot live without hope. With nothing to look forward to and with nothing to hope for, we surrender ourselves to despair and death. So often, many of our hopes lie in the joys and blessings of this world, our successes, our children, for peaceful and tranquil lives, for an end to any suffering, pain and misery, our ambitions, and that our basic needs will be sufficiently met.
Yet at times, there is still an emptiness, that almost this is not enough, that there must be more. Praise God that there is! True fulfillment and a peace that surpasses our understanding comes when we resign ourselves completely and totally to God who has drawn near through the birth of his Son. That is where true freedom lies. No longer do we need to find what it is that motivates us and gives us hope because now we have the freedom to live as children of God. When children resign themselves to their parents, they are given the freedom and peace to grow, develop, and through parental guidance, are given parameters and expectations to blossom into the amazing people that they have been created to be. Free from worry and fear, supported and nurtured, that is what God is for us as a community of believers.
Where does our hope ultimately rest? Is it in the things of this world or God’s promises? How are we preparing to use this time to once again reorient our lives so to live in freedom as God’s children? This has been a year where we certainly want to look forward to the joy that is to come. God loves us so much and has promised to return and take us to himself! While our Christmas celebrations may not be what we are accustom to this year, let us be reminded that Emmanuel, God is with us!
In Christ’s Peace,