AGM June 2023

AGM June 2023

Other AGM June 8 2023 speaking notes not in the FS presented:

  • Strong commentary made on the reduction in giving over the years, a trend we expected would stop in 2022 given the end of COVID, but sadly has continued.  Parishioners were made aware of the serious financial implications caused by the loss of revenue, including the stress on the parish staff and priest.
  • In the 2023 budget, we hadn’t planned for the 30% increase to our insurance premium, recently communicated to us by the Diocese.
  • Though the amount of natural gas has gone down with the addition of the new heaters in the church, but the price of gas has gone us drastically, thus increasing that expense over 2022


The following are from notes I used to deliver a speech I gave at each mass over the October 1 weekend to the parishioners.  Each appeal varied in part because I didn’t read my notes, used them as a guide, and between each speech, I got feedback.  These notes then are a composite of the 3 speeches that weekend, and best represent the appeal given at the 11:30 mass.

Who I am.  Paul Giacomin, CPA, Chair of Finance Council.

What the role of FC is:

  • Report to Parish Council(PC) on our finances and attend PC meetings
  • Review monthly bank reconciliation, monthly financial reports and weekly cash flow
  • Sign all cheques and review the underlying supporting documents
  • Work with the bookkeeper Vivian and Fr. Tim weekly
  • Prepare an annual balanced budget for the Arch Diocese(AD)
  • Meet annually at the AGM with the parishioners and outline our finances as I did earlier this year showing our results for the year ended  2021

But I asked Fr. Tim to meet with you today, outside of an AGM, because BSP is at an important time of the year entering our 4th quarter, & frankly I am concerned and wanted you to know.

Some might be saying, look at all these renovations, how could this guy be here worrying about our finances?

Explain “two different bank accounts”

  1. One account is for the operating expenses of BSP.  We get revenue from hall rentals, giving, movie set rental and other sources.  Those sources of funds pay for staff wages, heat, hydro, water, cleaning, maintaining the building etc.
  2. The second account was funded when a neighboring parish in Ottawa South was closed by the Arch Diocese (AD).  Those parishioners came to BSP, and BSP received a large portion of the proceeds of that sale of that building.  The AD holds those funds, including any interest earned thereon, and they CAN ONLY BE SPENT BY BSP ON RENOVATIONS IN THE PARISH, under the approval of the AD.  They cannot be used to fund any losses the parish might suffer.   In other words, they can never become part of the “first” bank account.

At the AGM, I discussed our 2022 budget, and when it was prepared, we expected to come out of Covid with stronger revenue than each of 2020 and 2021, given the parish itself would be able to have masses held more as opposed to lockdowns etc.  Sadly, that hasn’t been the case, in fact our revenues are down a little since the same period in 2021.

So how can you help?

  1. Be aware of the issue we have, and if other parishioners you know that aren’t here this weekend, let them know. 
  2. Open your weekly bulletin.  We have about a 60% open rate on the bulletin.  Each week we report out the results of the previous week’s collection.  We need it to be about $2000/wk if the PAD doesn’t change, so if you see it was $1600, know we were $400 short that week. 
  3. Consider going on PAD (pre authorized deposit).  First PAD is less work for the office staff than the envelops, it  doesn’t take as much volunteer time to count the collection the more people are on PAD, and doesn’t take as much time to enter into the tax receipt software we use, given it is the same monthly.  PAD is the safety net your parish has, like a salary of sorts, something we can rely on, budget on. 
  4. When you get home, please open that last bulletin, and when you look at that collection area, you will note there hasn’t been a number posted for two weeks.  Why is that?  Well we have lost all our volunteers that count the collection, there is only 1 left, and she has been away for two weeks.  So the collection is sitting in the safe waiting to be counted.

Which brings me to my last point.  Volunteers.  We need them.  We lost so many of them during Covid, and they haven’t come back.  We need (say as many as you have time):

  • People to count.  Tuesday morning, takes about an hour (once we get to $2000 a week, maybe more time!).  Need two people each week, so best would be 4 persons so we don’t have as much a commitment anyone volunteer.
  • Ushers.  Arrive 30 minutes before the first mass to open up the church, leave 15 minutes after the last mass to lock up the church. 
  • Lectors
  • Maybe you are a young family, willing to volunteer on the way in to bring up the offertory.
  • Hospitality
  • Music
  • Sacristans
  • Gardening.  Maybe you have a leaf blower, live in the Glebe, and can come by in the fall to blow leaves and bag them every so often.
  • Maybe you frequent some of our bulletin advertisers (McKean Metro, Glebetrotters, Ottawa Physio etc) and can thank them.  Or better yet, you know a local business that you think is well suited to be in our bulletin.  Approach them, pricing is right on the BSP website.

During this renovation period, I was on site many days looking in, more than usual.  Fr. Tim was working so hard on the projects, laying laminate flooring, tiling, painting, you name it.  But he needs help to grow our community and to do his work.  The volunteers need help, they are getting tired.   

Please consider BSP in your gifts, in your ability to volunteer, and in your prayers.

Thank you, and I will be at the back of the church to answer any questions you might have.

Of  Note.  Following my appeals, I did have a few people give me feedback.  I include some of those.

After one mass, a parishioner approached me and told me I scared her with my speech.  Not my goal.  It was to make sure our community is informed.  St. Margaret Mar’s  church is Ottawa South, St. Brigids recently in the news, examples of what happens if a parish finances aren’t maintained.    None of us want that for our community.

Another person used the word “shamed”.  If that is how I made anyone feel, I do apologize.  Delivering this message was not an easy task, and if I failed in its delivery, please know it was coming from the right place, maybe just not done as best it might have been.

The last person said I needed to offer more hope in my appeal.  Know that you have a vibrant Parish Council, a fully constituted Finance Council, an Evangelization team and other Ministries hard at work.  You have an incredibly committed office staff and parish priest.  I am hopeful that sharing this information will stimulate the souls so that more people to be able to help.