Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the wake of this year’s disastrous pandemic, I would like to update you on the financial situation in the parish. Many Catholic parishes have suffered from real hardship because, with the reduced number of people coming to Mass the income from collections has plummeted. Fortunately, we have for some time, been encouraging online giving, and this has helped us to stay afloat during these difficult times.

In addition to your faithfulness in giving, the parish and school have benefited from the government’s Payroll Protection Plan. This involved complicated paperwork and legal matters in which we were advised professionally by our accountants and the diocesan legal and financial team. Although we sometimes chafe under our obligations to the diocese, we also realize that in times like this it is an advantage to participate in larger programs as a team.

Now that the 2019-20 financial year is complete, I can report that both church and school have ended the year with a modest surplus. Soon we will issue the usual annual financial report. As we move forward, I would encourage you to continue your regular giving. This year we will not have our annual stewardship campaign in October, but will focus on closing out the postponed appeal for the Bishop’s Bicentennial Appeal, and I will give more information about this in due time.

For now I would like to remind you how we manage the finances in our parish.  According to canon law, “Father holds the check book”. While this is true, I have delegated most of the financial management of the parish to Father Richard Ballard. He is much better at the details than I am, and I feel that having a system of checks and balances is a good idea. Therefore, on a day to day basis, as bills need to be paid, Father Richard writes the checks, guided by me, our parish finance council, and the budget we have established. The budget is approved first by our parish finance council and also by the diocesan financial authorities.

While the school is part of our parish and comes under the pastor’s oversight, the school principal works with our accountants to develop an annual budget, and he is delegated the authority to sign checks for the school. Both the school and the church finances are watched over with regular meetings of our finance council, where financial updates are presented and approved before being sent to the diocese. Complete accounts are made available at the end of each summer, and a summary is presented as a handout one weekend at the same time.

I think it is important for you to know that as in most organizations, the largest part of our financial outlay is in the form of salaries and wages. We are blessed at OLR to have a very professional and dedicated staff. We try to pay both church and school employees a fair wage according to diocesan and national standards. Deacons do not receive payment, but the parish meets their working expenses. My own compensation is on the same scale as the other diocesan priests.

I am proud of what we are accomplishing at Our Lady of the Rosary parish. We are one of the “smallest and poorest” parishes in Greenville County, and we are situated in one of the most economically depressed parts of town, but your faith and generosity, your enthusiasm and commitment, is truly inspiring. I also want to thank you for your continued encouragement, generosity, good faith, and hard work. Please remember that if you, a family member, or someone you know is in financial hardship at this time—especially because of COVID-19, please let us know so we can offer confidential assistance.

Your pastor,

Fr. Longenecker