Dear Parishioners: 

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is substantial, and we have all been affected by it in one way or another. There are really no areas of our lives that remain untouched by its impact. We see not only impacts to the physical health of our world, but also the crushing economic impact the pandemic has had on families and businesses and organizations of all kinds. Revenue is decreasing such that some organizations have been forced to close, while others have had to lay off employees in an attempt to survive financially. 

Unfortunately, the economic downturn has greatly impacted churches too; Immaculate Conception Parish is no exception. As I have shared with you before, like most organizations our revenue has decreased substantially during the pandemic. We have cut expenses tremendously, and yet our must-pay expenses still outpace our income. After cutting our nonpayroll expenses as low as they can go, we now have no choice but to cut expenses associated with staff salaries. 

While we have been able to maintain our entire staff at full strength since the outbreak of the pandemic, we can no longer sustain that spending; we have to be good stewards of the financial resources you, our parishioners, have blessed us with and cannot spend our savings down to nothing. Therefore, like many organizations in the country, we too have had to eliminate some staff positions. 

After much prayer, and analysis of our financial situation by our Finance Council, our parish has had to eliminate three staff positions because we simply cannot afford them any longer. The positions affected are those of the Director of Music Ministry, the position of Pastoral Associate, and a custodial/cleaning position. Similar positions have been eliminated in parishes throughout the Diocese; we are not the only parish having to make these tough decisions. Although we held out hope that the economic downturn would not impact our staff members directly, it now has. 

I can assure you that this was a decision of last resort, and we have made every effort to charitably assist the staff members affected by this unfortunate reality. 

We do not know when we will begin to recover financially; in the near-term, however, we will rely on volunteers to assist with music at Masses, and we will begin to reorganize the remaining staff to cover the job duties of the other eliminated positions mentioned. We will continue to stay focused on our core parish mission, which is to lead all to their Home in Heaven with our Lord. 

Our parish income is derived solely through your generous contributions and donations to our parish in thanksgiving for what God has given you and your family. Giving out of thanksgiving is at the heart of stewardship in the Catholic Church. 

For it is through this authentic stewardship giving of your time, treasure and talents in thanksgiving to God that our parish will most effectively recover financially. Let us continue to pray for one another, and especially for those former staff members who have now been effected most directly by this unfortunate economic situation. 

In Christ, through Mary the Immaculate Conception,

Fr. Cook