November 7, 2017
As I mentioned last week at all the Masses, St. Raymond Parish is one of the best kept secrets in the entire Bay Area. In my 35 years as a priest, I have experienced in various ways, dozens of parishes. Without any exaggeration, this parish stands out as one of the warmest, most welcoming, supportive, and nourishing communities I’ve seen. Over the past few years, there has been a gradual but steady increase in the number of individuals who worship here and also a corresponding increase in the collection. However, now is the time for all of us to believe with great confidence that we no longer need to be a secret; now is the time to find your place in the parish and get involved; now is the time to share your parish with your extended community.
The obvious consequence of what I stated above is that the parish will move from gradual to a more rapid growth, both in those who find St. Raymond Parish to be their spiritual home, as well as in financial support. Growth will naturally bring about both an increase in those involved in our present ministries, as well as the need for additional ministries. This will demand a departure from our current trend in giving, such that we are able to budget sufficiently and responsibly. It is going to call for both sacrificial giving, without causing financial stress to a family, as well as total participation.
Therefore, I ask you to examine as individuals, couples, and families what should you be doing (both ministerially and financially) for your community? Only you can honestly answer that question.
We are now beginning our annual Fall Drive. As I reminded you last week, our goal this year is $750,000, which is more than twice what was raised last year to attempt to balance the budget. Your obvious question is why such a dramatic increase, especially since I emphasized with full certitude that you are getting far more for your dollar than you have in recent years. The answer involves a number of issues; however, the largest factor is that the Archdiocese has not previously taxed us the usual 20% of the ordinary income raised through the Fall Drive.
We have no Fall Drive committee; you and I are the committee. Therefore, we need to help each other. Think about ways that you can participate in reaching our goals. For example, if your company does matching gifts, please consider that. Consider sitting down with a good friend who has the ability and may be willing to make a sizeable contribution. Consider hosting a gathering at your home of individuals who would be willing to support this effort. (I am grateful to the two individuals who are already in the process of organizing such gatherings.) I would be more than pleased to join you (or not join you if that would be more helpful). Please contact me if this is a possibility and I will make myself available (or unavailable). This is not an exhaustive list of possibilities, so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have other suggestions.
May the Lord abundantly bless our efforts as He so richly blesses so many through the love, care, and concern of this community.
Peace in Christ,