As I reflect on the past year, I note with pride what we together have accomplished both spiritually and materially. Our beautiful church has remained as a distinguished Catholic presence in the Hartford community and it is my hope that it will remain that way for generations to come.
It is with our future in mind that I commence the 2014 Annual Collection. The Annual Collection has been an integral element of the financial structure of Saint Augustine for many years. It is used to reduce the shortfall between the income received in the weekly collection and actual parish operating expenses. With rising operating costs and aging buildings that require continual maintenance, our weekly offertory collection is just not large enough to meet our budget. Just this past year our insurance rates have challenged our budget.
Despite our best efforts the offertory collection is not keeping pace with the rising costs of keeping Saint Augustine operating. With the funds generated through the 2014 Annual Collection this year we hope to balance the budget at the end of the year and address small capital improvement projects around our parish grounds. So, with the encouragement of the Finance Council, I am asking every parish household to consider making a donation of a minimum of $150. Since I do not know your personal financial situation, some may find this difficult, but hopefully others will find it possible to give more. This week you will recieve a letter from me. Enclosed with this letter will be a commitment card with suggested amounts and an envelope that can be returned in the collection basket or through the mail. If you wish, you may make your contribution in two payments. You can also make your secure donation online clicking here. I hope this will enable more families to participate in this very important appeal. Please know I welcome and appreciate all your gifts, and I am very grateful for all you do for our parish.
Although your spiritual wellbeing will always be my first priority, as your pastor it is also my responsibility to keep the bills paid, the budget balanced and the parish buildings and grounds in good repair. I know you are justifiably proud of this parish. I share that pride with you. However, I can only continue to make it strong with your help. Only you know what you can give and I only ask you to do your best. It is all that can be expected – and certainly what God deserves.
I know you will do your best. Thank you!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Jose A. Mercado