Praised be Jesus Christ! “Most people (during the Middle Ages) got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet while getting married.” People come up with some pretty crazy explanations, don’t they?! For the record, the quote claims things that are untrue. When we were kids we had a weekly bath and even that required a lot of flowers to keep us presentable to the public. The moral of this story is to be critical of what you read. St. Paul’s admonition to “test all things and retain what is true” (1 Thes. 5:21) is as relevant today as it was when he wrote it. What follows is a brief financial history of the parish and a chance to decide whether or not my version is accurate. From what I’ve read and learned from parishioners, St. John’s has always been a generous parish. In the beginning they made do with what they had; the church was rather small and the rectory (which still stands – it’s the white house just to the east of the current rectory) and school were serviceable. Then in 1893 the current church was erected and we continue to stand in awe of the beautiful house of God our forebears built. As far as finances go, the parish supported a school almost from the very beginning and the people who did the heaviest lifting were both the parents and the Sisters, as they each made significant sacrifices to pull it off. Recent history shows that St. John’s was substantially in the red when Father Stoetzel arrived in 1995. It took herculean efforts by many, but the over $300,000.00 deficit was retired rather swiftly and soon thereafter began an era of restoration. From 1999 until the present countless projects have been completed that resulted in a revitalized church, rectory and school. Backtracking a bit, we remember Father Kaiser who began our two parish trusts, namely the Education and Maintenance trusts. Over the years generous parishioners have made these trusts grow to the point where we can now draw up to $60,000.00 per year without touching the principal. At this time in our parish history our level of giving is robust and allows us to both pay our bills and continue to update our physical plant while also serving our people and the greater community. However, financial life ebbs and flows, which makes our parish trusts very valuable as a foundation that steadies our ship. If you’ve never considered naming St. John’s in your Will this might be the time to think and pray about it. By law the trusts are a perpetual gift to the parish and will continue to help souls get to Heaven long after we’ve gone home to God. If you would like more information, a very helpful brochure is available in the back of church. There are other ways to assist the parish and some choose to simply leave money to the parish and allow us to decide how to use it. A parishioner did this some years before I arrived and we’re using it to build the Mother Frances Streitel Chapel in the basement. These are things you can think about and pray about; the best way I’ve ever heard is to consider the question, “If I can do more, should I?” Oh, and don’t forget to take a bath sometime this month!
May God help us to be cheerful givers! Your friend in Christ,