From Father Mike …
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2022
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
Brothers and Sisters,
Many hands make light work.
When Martha’s frustration reaches a boiling point in today’s Gospel, instead of taking her frustrations directly to their source, her sister Mary, Martha, approaches Jesus, imploring him to reprimand Mary.
Today we might label this type of problem-solving as passive-aggressive. Many of us can relate regardless of what we call this biblical interaction among sisters. In such situations, we let our emotions get the best of us, and it’s hard to appreciate another’s perspective or circumstances. Like Martha, when we remain in a stressed-out state of mind and don’t look for healthy ways to communicate uncomfortable emotions, we experience “burnout.” Different people have varying stress thresholds and will react accordingly in stressful situations. Yet, we all have our limits. My natural personality and disposition align well with Martha, with a greater tendency towards action and service than prayer and contemplation. I realize I am about to hit a wall when I perceive someone else isn’t sharing their fair share of the load. But with God’s help, I can set my frustrations at bay. When I rededicate myself to prayer and give myself time to hear how God is asking me to view the circumstances, my internal strife dissipates. Only then can I recognize the unique value of another’s contributions and that I shouldn’t expect others to prioritize tasks the same way I do. Our Creator has made us all uniquely different, and that is GOOD!
We can all learn something from the generation sometimes nicknamed the “Greatest Generation.” An American generation who came of age during the Great Depression and later fought in World War II (1901 to 1927). This group is typically classified as hard-working, humble, sacrificial, and generous with a deep sense of duty, often thinking about how to improve the community at large before improving their circumstances. I would never claim to mirror this generation’s same commitment to the daily grind and the greater good. Still, their examples of diligence and commitment to the war effort and each other are inspiring and excellent examples of how we can learn from the lives of others.
To that end, I’ve found that the best way to learn from someone else is to engage with them one-on-one. During this slower pace of Summer, consider writing a letter or picking up the phone and asking an older person in your life about their life experiences, how they solved problems in challenging circumstances, or how they worked together to make something good happen. Then, like Mary at the foot of Jesus — listen! Give it a try. I’m sure God has important lessons for us to learn in the process.
Accompanying our communications this weekend, I share with you this year’s financial plan, which began on July 1. This budget was crafted by the staff, reviewed and commented on by the finance committee and pastoral council, and approved by me, your pastor. This financial update is available as a weekend Masses packet or directly on this landing page. Please make note that the URL to this digital communication is https://olphparish.org/july-17-2022-financial-communication.
Out of transparency and love for this parish, I must share that our current financial status is not sustainable for the long haul. Unfortunately, we are ending this past fiscal year with a continued deficit in our offertory collections. This reality means we will enter this fiscal year with a projected shortfall. I am concerned yet confident that together, we can improve our situation. I’m grateful to my devoted Parish Staff, who live out the moniker, “many hands make light work” every day, and to our dedicated finance committee’s diligence in working to make a path forward visible. I’m also thankful to all of you, our committed parishioners. With your willingness to always choose the great good and your selflessness, I know we come out of the other side of this challenge stronger!
Thank you for taking the time to read the financial update with care. Then, I humbly request you to take to prayer what may be your next step in giving to OLPH. When you do, please also pray for me. That I may emulate the qualities of the Greatest Generation and lead humbly, work diligently and give more deeply, all to support the greater good of our parish, and advance Christ’s mission right here, in our small corner of God’s kingdom in Ellicott City, Maryland.
In the Lord,
OLPH Senior Community – looking to meet new friends in the faith?| The OLPH Grasshoppers, a small group for the senior set of OLPH, gather on Thursdays in the Parish Office at 11:00 am for lunch and fellowship. The group heads out for lunch on the third Thursday of each month. Come by any week and join up with other friends.
- Our Lady of Perpetual Help School is looking for talented and creative Team Members for the 22-23 school year. OPLH is home to a committed and innovative administration and faculty. The parent community is supportive of the academic and spiritual development of all students. If you are looking for an amazing experience in a collaborative community with competitive compensation, please contact us at 410-744-4251 and/or firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also message me privately for more information on either of these positions. Please see our openings listed below:Full-time 5th Grade Homeroom Teacher: This position involves a departmentalized approach to the content areas. The 5th Grade position teaches 4th & 5th Grade ELA and 4th & 5th Grade Math (small differentiated math groups). Science and social studies classes are taught by the 4th-grade teacher.Part-Time Nurse: We are looking for a certified nurse to join the current nursing team. Hours are flexible and part-time throughout the week (average two days per week). Expert and dedicated team members with experience in student care and all health protocols.
- Are you refurnishing or downsizing? The Resource Exchange Ministry of St. Vincent de Paul in downtown Baltimore needs gently used, clean furniture and household goods. For a decade, parish volunteers have been working with Health Care for Homeless to furnish the apartments of their newly housed clients. For more information, visit: https://www.stvchurch.org/justice-service/the-resource-exchange or call 410-657-5874.
- Respect for Life Opportunity ll –Bach Benefit Concert to Support Mary’s Home | Sunday, Aug. 7 | 2:30 pm Enjoy an afternoon of beautiful music at Ss. Philip and James Church, located at 2801 N. Charles St. Baltimore, offer a donation to support St. Mary’s House, Maryland. Mary’s Home Maryland is a pro-life ministry with Catholic values. Its mission is to provide a safe, pro-life home environment and holistic services program for expectant mothers in crisis and their children in need. To learn more about the work done at Mary’s Home, visit https://www.maryshomemaryland.org/
July 1, 2022- June 30, 2023
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Perhaps you have heard the quote: “Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.” It’s no surprise that this famous phrase is grounded in a Biblical story. After all, the Good Book is full of instances where the value of planning is emphasized or given as a clear and explicit directive. In fact, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus expresses a clear mission for his Church, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19).
More than two millennia later, our Savior’s Mission remains. We must answer the call to bring God’s life-changing love, made possible through his Son, Jesus Christ, to our surrounding community! Our desire for all people to come to know and love Christ remains the purpose of our parish and the guiding principle for all of our planning, no matter the neighborhood in Ellicott City. Fiscal management, budget planning, and how we utilize the gifts entrusted to us are no exception to this Mission. Your financial gifts, prayer, and acts of service are the only means by which we may operate as a parish.
Today, I share this year’s financial plan (budget), crafted by the staff, reviewed by the finance committee and pastoral council, and approved by me, which began on July 1, 2022. As you review the enclosed budget for the Fiscal Year-End 2023, you will notice that expenses outpace income projections by nearly $115,000. A notable gap leaves me with the need to humbly appeal to your generosity of spirit to support our Parish Mission. Understandably, this may not be possible at this time. Yet, if there is room for a new or additional gift, I am most grateful for your sacrifice to the parish.
While you prayerfully consider this request, some questions may come to mind, which I hope will be answered below. If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, as well as the contributors to this letter, Lisa Sliker, Parish Administrator, at email@example.com, and the Finance Committee. (Contact information available at https://olphparish.org/olph-finance-committee/)
Perspective & Forward Thinking
What has contributed to this income shift?
- Since FY 2018, Offertory gifts to the parish decreased from $1,477,000 to $1,203,000. Reasons include:
- 2018 tax law changes to charitable contributions have had a compounding impact on offertory;
- 30% decrease in attendance post-pandemic for Catholic Churches;
- Investment in new staff dedicated to Music Ministry, Adult Faith Formation, and Evangelization increased labor costs, as well as increased costs to manage and operate our facilities;
- Embracing our Mission Capital Campaign came to an end in FYE21 eliminating $56,000 of income;
- Costs not necessary during COVID, like certain labor expenses, utilities, and worship expenses, have returned as operational needs. Without these expenses during prior years, our income dollars stretched further to cover other expenses.
Why approve a fiscal plan beyond projected resources?
- To support the spiritual needs of all, including our growing number of young families;
- To offer more opportunities for our parish family to gather, especially after time apart;
- We must offer pastoral, evangelization, and faith formation programs for all life stages;
- We must remain a source of stability and truth for the most vulnerable.
How can I support the parish?
Support can take a variety of forms:
- Take a step up in your weekly offertory. Perhaps take the first step and commit to a weekly gift of $25. If you are a committed donor, please prayerfully consider if you are able to stretch your sacrificial gift a bit further and take an additional step upwards in your level of financial support. We have included an offertory chart in this packet to aid your efforts. And I thank you for your generosity. A secure and cost-effective way to give can be found at www.olphparish.org/giving/. If you prefer to give by check, please call the parish office, and we will mail offertory envelopes to you.
- Help us plan for the future. Donate to the Building Fund/Blue Envelope, where every dollar remains at the parish for upcoming planned capital projects for our church and campus grounds;
- Meet with our parish staff to discern your God-given spiritual and natural gifts that you can offer in ministry service and leadership to our parish;
- Pray for our parish each day, and know of my constant prayers for every one of you.
What is the parish doing in addition to a request for additional giving?
- A more focused look at the programs we offer to ensure cost-effectiveness;
- In ongoing expense management, this year, we eliminated $25K in recurring contracted facility costs;
- Inviting parishioners to share their talents as part of expense management efforts that would otherwise be outsourced (i.e., parishioners’ help to mulch rather than hiring someone);
- Providing responsible fiscal management as evidenced by the parish’s “Gold Star Review” for internal controls and financial management as noted by the AoB.
Yes, we aim to undertake a courageous plan this year that requires trust. Still, in my years as a priest, I have witnessed with awe that whenever we remain faithful to the Lord, no matter how audacious our plans, He will bless us. I know my request is bold amidst our current economic landscape, and a financial gift may not be possible at this time. We also welcome your support of parish efforts with your time and talent. Over the years, parishioner gifts like mulching, painting, plumbing, and handyman work have saved the parish thousands of dollars. Please call the parish office if you see a way you can to help us out.
Again, deep within my heart, I thank you for your generosity, which makes it possible to bring God’s love to our neighbors. I pray we will see even more lives touched by God’s love and mercy this year. Even more, parishioners will step into a place of service for the Lord using the gifts he offers us as One Body in Christ. Please look forward to a Stewardship update from me in November. At that time, I will be able to share more about the state of the parish and the progress we have made to close the financial gap for this year.
May the Lord continue to bless the good works of our parish, and may Mary continue to intercede for our needs.
In the Lord,
Rev. Michael S. Triplett, Pastor