Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilicas of SS. Peter and Paul
November 18, 2020
Dear Parishioners of St. Stephen the Martyr,
This week we hope to have all events in the church livestreamed. Thanks to a generous and technologically connected parishioner, we hope to have this new service just in time for the latest pandemic resurgence. Please, keep your eye on our webpage, https://www.saint-stephen.org.
Just to be clear. Our church is still open, and we have Mass and Sacraments at the normally schedule times. There is no obligation to attend Sunday Mass or feast days. Those who do attend are those who are healthy and not sharing living space with those suffering from Coronavirus 19. They are expected to wear a mask unless they have medical reasons not to or not yet five years old. We can sit up to 50% capacity observing social distancing with six feet between groups or individuals. Although I can’t provide an enclosed tent for those who prefer to sit outside, I do plan to have the parish hall wired for video and sound this Sunday.
[Please, see the attachment.] Last fiscal year, our projected expenses for this year were $416,513. Our actual expenses were $329,795. Due to my deft management, astute staff, expert advice from the Finance Council and a world-wide, unprecedented, global pandemic, we were able to reduce our expenses by $86,718. Our actual income of $478,829 surpassed our projected income of $403,171. We have an extra $75,658. That feels good compared to our previous year projection of a deficit of $13,342. While we are $149,035 in the black for Fiscal Year 2020, the downside of St. Corona’s blessings is that we are projecting to be $48,192 in the red for next year. Who knows what challenges and blessings next year holds?
When I addressed some of the concerns of the physical plant last year, I mentioned the furnace, parking lot lights, and ac units. Since then the staff and I have determined that switching to LED lights in the parking lot wasn’t practicable, nevertheless we did get the lights in the front of the church fixed and we plan to add a matching light post. At present we’re still intentionally ignoring the ac units (except for the new antibacterial filters), but we will probably have to address replacing one of them in the not too distant future. Currently, we are weighing the options for replacing our furnace and hope to do so before the end of winter.
While COVID initially decreased activity at the parish. It has left in its wake more activity. Not just regular sanitation efforts, but also meetings on-line. E.g. we have a woman attending RCIA who would not have joined us last year but for the fact that she is able to attend from Baltimore via Zoom. Additionally, sacramental grace is expanding, you may have noticed that we now have a Saturday morning Mass. “For to everyone who has, more will be given …” (Mt 25:29)
As people of faith, we continue our God-given duties and hope for the best. St. Augustine teaches, we ought to pray as if all depends on God and work as if all depends on us. And so, we may conclude that our efforts are all a part of Divine Providence. That is, to put it another way, Divine Care is evident through our participation. It is our prayerful consideration where God’s grace takes on flesh. Please, I pray that you let the gift of faith guide you, rather than fear.
Due to your committed generosity we’re doing well. I’m not anxious, but to be perfectly frank, Faith Direct is a great relief. Thank you for signing up. If you haven’t experienced this modern offertory convenience, I ask you to give it a try. For those who have, this is the time of year to consider adjusting it in order to help us meet the annual rise in cost of living and to rise to the challenges of the various shutdowns.
Thank you for your continued support.
Rev. Christopher D. Murphy (pastor)