Monday September 16, 2019
8:42 am

We, as disciples of Jesus, carry out his mission at parish, diocesan level

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

      I am pleased to present our Financial Report for the Diocese of Gary in this issue for the fiscal year which ended June 30, 2014. This report reviews our diocesan-wide programs. Parishes are expected to report their own finances through their parish bulletins.

      Accountability is an important part of our diocesan stewardship to you. Each year, the diocese subjects itself to the scrutiny of an independent audit. McGladrey & Pullen LLP conducted a full audit of our diocesan finances and gave an unmodified audit opinion. Such opinion signifies that the diocesan books, records, and accounting practices are conducted in full accord with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.

      An audit committee of the Diocesan Finance Council and the full membership of the Council have studied our audit. The Diocesan Finance Council meets quarterly to oversee our financial policies and procedures, our diocesan budget, the annual audit, and investments. Its members are listed on page 72 of our 2014 Diocesan Directory which you received from the Northwest Indiana Catholic on the third week of September.

      I have always believed that it is very important to keep our focus on our mission. Jesus entrusted His mission to us who are the Church, His living Body in the world today. Together, we are the Church. Each one of us is called to grow in an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus and to share His life and love with others. I commend you for your deep faith and your desire to share your faith with others.

      It is only through your generosity that we are able to proclaim that Jesus is Lord and Savior and share His Gospel of peace, hope, reconciliation, and salvation with our children and the people of Northwest Indiana. Likewise, it is through your gift of time, talent, and treasure which enables us to serve Jesus in those who are in need, whether spiritually, emotionally, or physically. Thank you for extending yourself in generous love through your regular parish offerings as well as through our annual Catholic Services Appeal.

      The material resources needed to carry on the mission of Jesus through our many diocesan ministries are derived from three sources:  the parish quota (parishes without Catholic schools contribute 10 percent of their ordinary income; parishes contributing at least 20 percent of their ordinary income to support Catholic school education contribute 8 percent of their ordinary income), earnings on diocesan reserves, and the Catholic Services Appeal.

      I have previously shared with you that this year the Catholic Services Appeal raised $2,712,664, more than ever before. Eleven thousand eight hundred and twenty gifts were received with an average of $230 per gift. This year there were 659 Bishop’s Guild members. They gave an average gift of $1,545. Accordingly, more dollars were returned to parishes by way of rebates for parish ministries and projects. I am also happy to report that investments performed exceptionally well during this past fiscal year.

      I am deeply committed to exercising my ministry and responsibilities in collaboration with clergy, religious, and the lay faithful. While the Diocesan Finance Council makes the final recommendation regarding the diocesan budget, it receives the draft budget from the Program and Budget Review Committee composed of several priests and lay persons who spend two days reviewing the goals, objectives, and proposed budget for the departments and ministries funded by the diocesan operating budget. In addition, I involve numerous lay, religious, and clergy in the many consultative bodies who meet throughout the year to set priorities, goals, and objectives at the diocesan level. The members on these Boards and Commissions are listed in your Diocesan Directory beginning on page 70.

      I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the many, many dedicated people from parishes in the four counties of our diocese who volunteer their time serving on diocesan boards and committees. The gift of their time and talents is a marvelous expression of their love for the Church and their desire that we do everything possible to bring people to Jesus Christ and eternal life in the kingdom of God.

      I believe that this accountability report is important, but it does not tell the whole story of how we, the disciples of Jesus, carry out His mission in and through the Church at the diocesan and parish level. It doesn’t consider the gathering of all of us as a people of faith every Sunday and several of us on weekdays in the most sacred act of worship, Holy Mass. It doesn’t speak about the numbers of young and old who grow in their faith through participation in our Catholic schools, religious education, youth, young adult and adult faith formation programs.

      Nor does our financial accountability mention the sick, shut-ins, and people struggling with material needs who are served daily in our parishes, hospitals and convalescent homes, shelters, soup kitchens, and other outreach ministries. It doesn’t take into account the very powerful ministry that is conducted on Sundays and throughout the week in Indiana State Prison, Westville Correctional Center, county jails, and youth homes.

      Nor does this accountability report mention the significant outreach of the diocese and individual parishes to our sister Diocese of Fort-Liberté in Haiti and other support given where it is so desperately needed in other places throughout the world. Nor does it take into account the thousand daily random acts of charity and patience, mercy and forgiveness extended by Catholics across the diocese to bring peace, love, truth, and justice to individuals and groups in our communities.

      This report does reflect the depths of our faith which enables us to recognize that everything that we have comes from our good and loving God. It does reflect the seriousness with which we live our faith and our desire to be good stewards and collaborators with the Lord and one another in accomplishing the common mission which God has entrusted to us all. May the God of mercy and peace, who is never outdone in generosity, continue to bless you and your families with His mercy, love, and joy that no one can take from you.

Sincerely yours in the Lord Jesus,

Most Reverend + Dale J. Melczek

Bishop of Gary

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