Parish Family of St. Thomas of Villanova,
As we continue in this month of October, we are reminded to
Respect Life in all of its stages
from conception to death. We are called to live each moment of
life in the loving, respectful
and faithful ways of the Lord. No matter how young or old, we
are living Life with the Lord.
I would like to share with you some thoughts on Life from our
Holy Father, Pope Francis:
All too often, as we know from
experience, people do not choose
life, they do not accept the
‘Gospel of Life’ but let themselves
be led by ideologies and ways
to thinking that block life,
that do not respect life, because they are dictate
d by selfishness, self-interest, profit, power
and pleasure and not by love, by
concern for the good of others.
... As a result, the living God
is replaced by fleeting human id
ols which offer the intoxication
of a flash of freedom, but in
the end bring new forms of slavery and death.”
The Fall also brings our Annual Pumpkin Donation Patch—picked
and staffed by our Teen Group—VOICES.
Today, you can pick up a pumpkin for your home. Your
monetary donation supports our ministry to the High
School teens. And why not take one to a sick or homebound, or
elderly neighbor? It is Respect Life Month.
After all, I heard the Great Pumpkin and the Little Pumpkin will
be there watching you!
It is that time of the year again. It is the time for us to be
accountable to each other in good stewardship.
Today’s bulletin contains all of the financial facts and figures
of your lo
ve for God and St. Thomas of
Villanova Parish Family. I have asked members of our
Parish Finance Committee to speak at all of today’s
Masses regarding our 2014 Fiscal Year Report (7/1/13—6/30-14).
As you can see, it was a good year for St.
Thomas of Villanova Parish as our income revenues increased and
our Parish expenses decreased. We met
and frequently exceeded our weekly Sunday
Sacrificial Giving need—in spite of the difficult winter impact
heating and snow removal.
Recently, our Parish Pastoral Council had their annual Da
y of Prayer and Reflection. Only this time, the Day
included our Pastoral Staff, our Finance Committee, our School
Board as well as the membership of the
Parish Pastoral Council. It was a powerful but simple, quiet Day
of Prayer and Reflection. One of the
presentations was a panel of representatives from each of the
four committees to reflect on their role of
Ministry and leadership on behalf of St. Thomas of Villanova Parish. Since we are presenting our fiscal year
end report today, I would like to share with all of you A
nn Johnson’s panel presentation. (Ann is a member of
our Finance Committee and, today, she spoke at the 1:30pm Mass.)
Her presentation is an excellent story of
the what and the how of the Finance Committee.
How does your work within your ministry impact your faith life?
I gave some thought to the phrase “work within my ministry”.
Work can have a negative connotation
but I consider work as a place that I really look forward to
going to. I realized that, a number of
years ago, when my friend, Cathy Edbrooke, approached me
regarding my interest in joining the
Finance Committee. She said that Father Tom
those to “work” on the parish finances. I
knew I couldn’t possibly say no to Father Tom and that I never
considered this ministry as “work” as I
love working with numbers so this ministry has been a blessing
Each of us on the Finance Committee have been given a specific
ministry or ministries to represent.
I personally have been assigned to the Youth Ministry Program to
oversee how close Jeff, our Youth
Minister, is to his budget. I meet with him to discuss his
financial needs for the next fiscal year and
to discuss his variances in his actual spending to the budget
amounts. Jeff makes me smile. At our
monthly meetings I share with all members of the Finance
Committee the reasons for any variances
in the spending.
At these meetings, I also hear how all the other ministries are
doing and obtain a wonderful financial
picture of our parish. We discuss the pros and cons of any
additional requests that are made that
were not included in our original budget and then share our
recommendations with Father Tom.
I have helped prepare the annual report that is presented to the
entire parish and is printed in our
bulletin. I also have to speak at a Mass to share our financial
picture. Knowing how torturous talking
about money can be to some parishioners, I am always amazed at
the number of people who will
come up to me and say what a good job I did. They make me smile.
How have these experiences impacted my faith life?
I know that God has given me special talents and that my love
of numbers has lead me to accept Father Tom’s offer. Exposure to
the income and expenses of our parish has given me a true under-
standing of how much is needed to run a parish and the ways to
meet those goals.
I am always truly amazed at the generosity of our parishioners.
Just a year or two ago, a parishioner
came forward to offer a large sum of money because we were below
our Sunday Sacrificial Giving
budget and then encouraged other parishioners to contribute even
at a time when so many were
struggling just to make ends meet. I was in awe as to the
outpouring of support the Parish received.
My faith was renewed by the fact that there are so many
wonderful people in our Parish, in our
community, that are here to help one another. My faith is
strengthened because of my fellow finance
members. They are kind and courteous and supportive. They are
non-judgmental and enrich my life
through their friendship, their knowledge and their dedication.
I thank you Lord for all my blessings.
Oh, working on the Finance Committee ministry also makes me
I would like to publicly thank our Parish Finance Committee who meet with me monthly to review our Parish
expenditures and financial budget. Special thanks to Chairperson Cathy Edbrooke who monitors the money
and us. Thanks to the dedicated committee members of John
Harahan, Ann Johnson, Ron Jozwiak, Ron
Schaefer, Ron Tragasz, Carol Wilson, Fr. Wojciech and myself.
Even though it was a very good year, we cannot rest on our
laurels or our wallets. If you take a peek today at
our current Sunday Sacrificial Giving box, you will notice that those ugly, red negative numbers have
reappeared. We ask all to prayerfully consider their Sunday gift to God and if at all possible, to consider an
increase in your stewardship giving.
It is because of your own faith commitment that we
can have and support so many programs, Ministries, and
faith experiences for our flock. It is your stewardship and
generosity which allows us to do so much for so
many people in our own Parish Family, in our local
communities, in our Archdiocese of Chicago, and even
throughout the entire geographical world. Thank you! Thank you!
Rev. Thomas R. Rzepiela