As we continue to navigate through the troubled economy, I am very aware of the demands and difficulties that you face. Each year I have asked for your support for our diocesan ministries and administrative offices, and each year you have generously supported our efforts. Once again, I request your participation in our annual Diocesan Services Appeal (DSA).
As you face challenges in your personal lives, so does the Diocese. Due to the increasing cost of personnel, benefits, insurance and other operating expenses, I am faced with the unpleasant task of increasing our appeal amount by 9.5%. For several years there have been minimal increases in the DSA, even though costs of personnel and other operating expenses were increasing. This was a decision that was made because of the state of the economy. However, the need to increase the DSA amount can no longer be ignored.
The Diocese, as reported to you in the Catholic Lighthouse, has for the past two years spent more money than it collected. This is called deficit spending. Although these shortages were anticipated and covered with unencumbered funds, we cannot continue to operate in the red. This year steps are being taken to ensure the Diocese does not spend more than its income. For 2012 there will be a salary freeze for Chancery personnel, a restriction on travel to conferences and seminars, and the Catholic Lighthouse is being reduced from 20 pages to 12 pages. These three steps alone will result in a savings of approximately $100,000. Additional steps are also being taken which will further result in savings of approximately $75,000.
The Diocese is doing its part to hold the increase to 9.5%. I ask you to continue to support our Church. Remember, your contributions help fund the religious education programs, youth ministry, Catholic schools, vocation efforts, our diocesan newspaper, and virtually every other operation of the Diocese. Please be generous when considering how much to pledge this year.
Again, I sincerely thank you for your gifts of time, talent and treasure. And I ask once more that you continue to help advance the Church’s mission, the mission that Christ gave all of us. May God bless you and your loved ones.