This column was featured in The Catholic Spirit as part of the Archdiocesan Chancery Corporation Annual Financial Report for FY 2018. View the Management Discussion and Analysis and Financial Statements.
While it’s not unusual to hear Christ characterized in our tradition as “teacher,” “shepherd,” “physician,” “advocate,” “judge” or “lawgiver,” I’m unaware of any instance in which he’s known as the “divine accountant” or the “celestial CFO.” That’s not to say that he doesn’t provide great advice in that area. His parable of the talents suggests that he has a good sense of investment, and his oft-quoted statement that “to anyone to whom much has been given, much shall be required” reveals an appreciation of the necessary connection between assets and debits. Moreover, he manifests a passion for faithful stewardship and rendering accounts, and he was careful not to lose any of the sheep his Father had entrusted to him.
I am delighted to present this year’s Annual Financial Report, and I hope that you will read it carefully as an accounting of what we have done over the course of the last fiscal year with the substantial resources that have been made available to us. I continue to be humbled by the generosity of the faithful of this archdiocese.
I hope that you, like me, will see beyond the mere numbers when you study this report. One of the blessings of being the archbishop is that I have had etched in my brain the faces, for example, of the young people who participated in Archdiocesan Youth Day, and of the graduates of the educational programs offered by our Office of Latino Ministry, and of our newly ordained priests as they begin their priestly ministry.
Those numbers in the report also remind me of all the efforts of the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth and the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment to make sure that we are following through on our promise to foster safe environments in our parishes and schools. They recall for me as well our commitment to provide fair compensation to those who have been hurt by those who minister in the name of our Church. They bring back memories of the children encountering Jesus in our Catholic Schools and of those living on the peripheries of our communities whose lives are changed by the great work of Catholic Charities. I hope that this year’s Annual Financial Report will be an occasion for you to share my pride in the work that was accomplished by our brothers and sisters around the archdiocese in very difficult times.
When it comes to financial administration, we are truly blessed to have a very competent professional staff, who have met head-on the challenges posed by our bankruptcy. They have responded well to the direction set by the Archdiocesan Finance Council (AFC) and Corporate Board, who, along with the priests serving on the College of Consultors and Presbyteral Council, have been valued collaborators in the important work of achieving stability and creating structures and procedures that will help us restore trust.
Throughout the bankruptcy process, the volunteers serving on the AFC and Corporate Board have gone above and beyond the call of duty. I am grateful to all of them, and especially to the AFC chairman, Tom Abood, for the additional commitment of time that was required to help us arrive at the consensual plan that was essential for moving us beyond bankruptcy. As is reflected in this year’s Annual Financial Report, we are blessed to be part of an archdiocese in which so many lay faithful are willing to so generously offer their time and talents to the service of the local Church, responding in fidelity to Christ’s call to servant leadership.
The archdiocesan website archspm.org provides annual financial reports stretching back to 2012. Anyone comparing this year’s financials with the 2012 figures will note that we are today a much leaner operation. While the needs of God’s people have remained constant if not grown, we now have a significantly smaller archdiocesan staff to respond to them. I’m grateful to all those working at the Archdiocesan Catholic Center for finding creative ways of collaborating with our pastors and parish staffs that have enabled the Church to maintain a high level of service with significantly fewer resources. I feel privileged to work with these colleagues and know that I have benefited from their contagious Christ-centered commitment to our essential mission.
While our pledge to pay $1 million each of the next five years to the Bankruptcy Trust will necessitate that we continue to be disciplined in our expenditures, I hope that this 2018 Annual Financial Report helps you to share my confidence that our local Church is nonetheless prepared to move forward.
Please know of my gratitude for your generous financial support and expressions of growing trust. Through the intercession of Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, may the Lord continue to bring fruit to our labors.