Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Continuing to inform you about financial matters, I would like to explain how our commitment to the diocese works.
Some people think the bishop pays the parish priest. In fact, it is the other way around! The parishes pay to support the bishop and the diocese.
The diocese asks us to keep a record of income that is assessable for the diocesan tax. Some gifts are not assessable for the tax. Most of the regular income to a parish is assessable. We are required to pay about 10% of all our assessable income to the diocese. This means that 10% of your regular giving through envelopes and electronic stewardship is subject to a 10% tax by the diocese. General gifts to the school and general gifts through bequests are also assessable. This tax payment helps to maintain the diocesan bureaucracy.
Non-assessable income are funds which the bishop specifically designates as free from the diocesan tax. So, for example, when we ran the capital campaign to build the new church, all donations to the capital campaign were set aside as non-assessable. Donations to St. Vincent de Paul Society are also non-assessable because they operate independently from the parish. Gifts designated for Mother Teresa House or the school are assessable because they are counted as general income to the parish, however if you wish to donate to the work with the needy in this part of Greenville, and would like your donation to be independent of the parish and diocese you may donate to the independent charity set up by some of our parishioners called MercyWorks. Like St. Vincent de Paul Society, MercyWorks is independent of parish or diocesan control. MercyWorks remit is broader than that of St. Vincent de Paul and they work with a wide range of foundations and charities that are not necessarily religious.
In addition to this, the bishop requires us to take second collections for about twenty-five different good causes of the wider church. We make these donations not from second collections, but through our Tithe Committee. The committee has worked out a formula so we are able to give the amount we gave the year before to each charity plus a little more. If you have a special request for a charitable work you are doing or you know of someone who has special financial needs you may make a request for a grant from our tithe committee with a cover letter or email to me. We will then discuss your request and attempt to respond generously.
This October we will also conclude our obligation to the Bishop’s Bicentennial Appeal. This is a direct appeal to you as members of his flock to further the work of the Lord at the diocesan level. 50% of your gifts to the Bishop’s Bicentennial Appeal will return to the parish and I am designating those gifts towards the work of Mother Teresa House. We will discuss how this works in more detail as we move forward to our annual giving campaign in October, which this year, will be dedicated to the Bishop’s Bicentennial Appeal.
Since I am talking about financial management, I would remind you that experts suggest that we review and update our wills every five years or so. In addition to providing for your family members, have you remembered Our Lady of the Rosary Church and School? A bequest helps us remember you after you are gone, and in this way your giving to the Lord’s work continues. If you are able, I hope you will also remember this part of your financial stewardship.