Diocesan services and staff have been reduced in response to the lower than average offertory amounts resulting from closures in March and diminished attendance following reopening in mid-June. “Churches are feeling the pressure of paying their bills,” said Father Daniel Firmin, Diocesan Administrator, “offertories are their lifeblood.” The reductions to diocesan services and staffing ease some of the billing parishes receive from the diocese.
In a memo dated June 12, Fr. Firmin explained the steps taken to steward the diocesan mission through these difficult times. He wrote:
Yesterday was a painful day at the Catholic Pastoral Center (CPC). The budget constraints imposed on us by the COVID-19 pandemic made it necessary to lay off some employees, while others had more work added to their already full plates.
Given our present financial position and the economic trends that are expected to continue into the next fiscal year, difficult decisions had to be made. I approved these decisions after much prayer and collaboration with Senior Directors at the Pastoral Center.
The steps taken consist of the following:
- All open positions at the CPC were frozen on April 1, 2020.
- Priests and Religious agreed to a salary freeze: no increase on July 1, 2020.
- CPC lay employees will not receive a COL salary increase on July 1, 2020.
- All conference and business travel has been eliminated from the 2021 budget.
- The Villa Marie Center has been shuttered for the time being and will no longer be operating as a rental/event facility.
- Every department has reduced operating expenses proportionately.
- Two long term employees will be retiring and will not be replaced.
- Five positions have been eliminated and the employees laid off.
- One position has become a shared position between two departments.
We are not immune to the burdens and effects of this pandemic. We do, however, have confidence that our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus will pull us through the difficulties we will be facing in the months and year ahead.