God’s providence, staff’s fiscal responsibility evident in finances

This column was featured in The Catholic Spirit as part of the Archdiocesan Chancery Corporation Annual Financial Report for FY 2017.

Both the Old Testament and the New Testament are full of allusions to the providential care of a God who opens wide his hand to provide all that we need (Ps 145). The Lord is truly the good shepherd who makes sure that there is nothing of importance that his flock lacks. While the vibrancy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis can hardly be reduced to a financial bottom line, this year’s financial report reminds me once again of the many ways in which the Lord continues to provide for our archdiocese, most especially through the generosity of the lay faithful who make up this local Church.

I am happy to report that the archdiocese, while still embroiled in the challenges of bankruptcy, has once again performed even better than expected at the end of the fiscal year. Benefiting from the vision and expectations of the Archdiocesan Finance Council, as well as the attentiveness of the archdiocesan staff to the annual budget, our shared commitment to fiscal responsibility, accountability and transparency has continued to bear fruit. As you will see from the annual report, we managed to reduce total operating expenses in Fiscal Year 2017, while maintaining the level of essential pastoral support that is expected by our pastors and parishes.

The fiscal year saw the move of archdiocesan operations from the historic Cathedral Hill sites that we had sold as part of the diocesan reorganization to our new leased home on St. Paul’s East Side. We continue to look for ways of realizing greater savings from that move, and we are already pleased by the positive impact that the move has had on the fruitfulness of our internal collaboration.

You will notice that our legal expenses, while still quite high, were reduced considerably in this fiscal year. They nonetheless continue to reflect the priority that we have given to seeing the bankruptcy proceedings through to their conclusion. We continue to be sensitive to the needs of those who are counting on us for a fair and just resolution of the 400 claims that have been brought against the archdiocese. I would ask you to keep that intention in your prayers.

I continue to be humbled by the support and generosity of the Catholic faithful of this archdiocese, without whom we could do nothing. Please be assured of my gratitude as well as my prayers. As we set our sights on the next fiscal year, let us together keep before our eyes the Lord’s command that we seek first the kingdom of God, trusting that he will always take care of our needs.