Very soon you will receive a mailing from the Diocese regarding the 2019 Annual Pastoral Appeal (APA). It contains a letter from our Bishop, some materials describing the ways in which your annual contribution is needed to support diocesan programs, and of course, the contribution card with a return envelope. It is one means by which the diocese and parish raises funds to support the parish’s payment of general administrative costs and programs operated by the diocese in our name and on our behalf. It is a needed and worthwhile endeavor.
Now this might have surprised some among you because of our “True North” campaign this past October. In that campaign we offered the vision for the parish and asked for your commitment/planning in three areas: increased offertory (for us to continue to live our mission), True North (for us to build our future) and APA (to pay the mandatory assessment from the diocese). While we still have – and will always have – the commitment to support the diocese financially, my commitment was that in 2019 we would forego the 4 weeks of campaigning during Mass to raise the funds. That we would not do a series of talks that led up to a “bring your APA envelopes” weekend. Instead we would focus on being a parish committed to be a place of hospitality, healing, holiness, and hope. So we won’t “campaign” … but we’ll offer gentle reminders.
In the end, the assessment for diocesan support must be paid. This year our fair share comes to $327,615. That is a lot, but we are one of the larger parishes in the diocese and are financially solid. How will this be paid? As before, the commitment is met through your generosity. The means and avenues by which it is paid is in transition.
As part of the True North response, among the 360 parish households who responded with commitment cards, we received “APA pledges” of approximately $140,000. That is fantastic, but still leaves us with a gap of a little under $200,000 to close. And about 2,240 parish households whose plans are unknown to us. We need to reach out to them!
Last year the primary means for parishioners to contribute to APA was either (a) via the envelope that came in the mail or (b) through the Diocese’s online giving portal. In 2019 if you want to give through those means, please do. But this year there are also additional ways to give by designating your gift to the parish to be used for APA.
For those families receiving weekly giving envelopes from the parish, beginning in February, there will be a monthly envelope for “On-going diocesan support (APA)” – a reminder and a means to help with your donation. For those folks who choose to give online with Sacred Heart’s online portal (see http://www.sacredheartfla.org/giving), there is an option to specifically give to 2019 APA. You can set up your contribution and know that it will automatically be paid. And there are always offertory envelopes in the back of the church – just write “APA” on the envelope and drop in the collection basket. Please know that, no matter how you give, all funds designated for APA will always go to that fund and no other.
And one more thing. We know that among those who responded to the True North campaign, some households increased offertory without making specific commitments to APA or True North – leaving it to the parish to use the increased offertory where necessary and needed. Thank you for your trust in our good judgment!
So, where does all this leave us? Some households will contribute to the diocese directly and some will contribute through the parish. No worries, we will track it all. At the end of the month, just like your family, we will sit down to pay our bills. Our monthly payment to the diocese needs to be about $27,500 per month. If the funds collected (both at the diocese and through the parish) are less than needed, we will make up the difference from our offertory collection. If the funds are more than needed, then we are “ahead of the game.”
As I mentioned, all funds designated for APA go to APA. What happens if we receive more than the assessment? That happened in 2018! Through your generosity we received approximately $20,000 above the $293,391 goal. Those funds are in a Sacred Heart APA savings account with the diocese and are available to meet our 2019 APA assessment – we have a head start on our January 2019 payment! And of course, we will make adjustments overtime. For example, if the donations in the name of the parish being given to the diocese are robust, then we may not need to make a payment from the parish in a particular month. We will keep you posted.
Any way you look at it, Sacred Heart will support the diocese’s programs and efforts. It is ours to do in the Name of Christ. How we do it – that’s up to you. Give through the diocese or via the parish. In any case, we will not have APA promotion during Mass as we have had in years past. We’ll see how it goes!
Thank you in advance for your on-going and generous support.