From the Pastor: February 19, 2023

Feb 9, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

As we settle into the beginning of a new year, I think it is time that I update you about what has been happening at the parish and what is being planned.

  1. 1. Parish Ministries. I am happy to report that the programming and activities of the various ministries of the parish are as robust as they were prior to our Covid interlude; most are in-person events, a few continue to meet or have programming via Zoom. We have more than 400 individuals who are regularly engaged in parish ministries, programs, volunteer service projects, and sponsored activities. The Ministry Council, made up of the leadership of all the ministries of the parish, meets on a quarterly basis to report on their respective works. The most recent meeting of the Ministry Council was in December. The Minutes of all its meetings may now be found on the parish’s website.

  1. 2. Livestreaming of Mass. The livestreaming of our weekday and Sunday liturgies is a very important and necessary ministry that allows us to accompany those who otherwise are unable to be physically present. However, livestreaming of our Masses is very expensive. In January, we moved the weekday livestreamed Mass, on an experimental basis, into the Lady Chapel as a cost-saving measure. That proved to be unsuccessful because of repeated interruptions of service and the number of people who regularly attend weekday Mass. On February 1st, the weekday livestreamed 5:30 PM Mass returned to the church.

  1. 3. Parish Finance and Investment Committees. These committees meet on a quarterly basis to monitor the financial condition of the parish and to review the performance of the modest investment portfolio of the parish. I am happy to report that the parish continues to be in strong financial condition. However, that is not to say that there doesn’t remain constant pressure on the parish’s operating budget because of a downturn in weekly Offertory and special collections. Prior years’ shortfalls have been met through our investments, but that trend is not sustainable.

  1. 4. Parish Lay Trustees. The lay parish trustees meet annually to review the audited financial statements of the parish and all major expenditures of parish funds. The next meeting of the lay parish trustees will be in the early Spring, upon the completion of the work of our outside independent auditor.

  1. 5. Parish Council. Acting as advisers to the Pastor, the members of the Parish Council meet on a monthly basis. The Minutes of their meetings are published on the parish’s website.

  1. 6. Christmas 2022. The Christmas concerts and the grammar school Christmas pageant were smashing successes. The spirit and joy of Christmas were very much alive this past year, as indicated by the number of people who attended the Masses of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, both in-person (2,920) and via livestream (1,049). Encouraging though these numbers are, they are a far cry from years past when, in 2017, more than 5,000 people attended in person, 4,838 in 2018, and 4,670 in 2019.

  1. While the number of people regularly attending Mass steadily increases and hopefully approaches pre-Covid attendance, the amount received in contributions during the Offertory collections has not kept pace with it. The primary source of funding for the annual operations of the parish comes from the Offertory collections and Annual and Spring Appeals. The use of recurring electronic transfer of funds through checking/savings accounts and credit cards for the weekly Offertory collection would allow us to prepare an operating budget that keeps expenditures in line with revenue.

  1. 7. Lecture Series. This year’s lecture series, Blessed Are The Peacemakers, is off to a strong start with the recent presentation of Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J., who spoke of his ministry among former Los Angeles gang members. As part of the lecture series, The Loyola Medal will be conferred on Professor Kim Daniels in conjunction with her delivery of the Laetare Lecture on 27 March. Prof. Daniels is the Director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University.

  1. 8. Action Plan Committees. The parish action plan committees, whose task is to propose practical ways for us to implement the parish’s Vision Statement, have been meeting on a monthly basis since November. In the early Fall, their recommendations will be disseminated to all parishioners. It is my hope that we will join in common purpose and integrate their recommendations into our personal lives and as a parish.

  1. 9. Physical Plant of the grammar school. The elevator at the Lower Campus building (formerly, The Day Nursery) needs to be upgraded to comply with the current building code, and the roof of the Upper Campus building (the grammar school) appears to be in need of replacement. We have retained the services of an engineer to evaluate what should be done at both locations. The financing of these projects will be reviewed by the Parish Finance Committee.

  1. 10. Loyola School. Our neighbor to the south is about to begin a construction project that will be ongoing for approximately 18 months, beginning March 2023. The area that will be impacted is the courtyard between the church/Parish House and Loyola School. Access to the church from the rear of the Parish House will be blocked during this time.

  1. 11. This year, the theme for observing the season of Lent is “Forgiveness.” As we begin the season of Lent on February 22nd with the celebration of Ash Wednesday, let us reflect upon our need for forgiveness, from God and of one another. Without forgiveness in our lives, love would suffocate and peace be elusive.
    1. From your reading of this brief re-cap, I hope you recognize how active and vibrant our parish is. We truly are “church,” actively engaged in all aspects of the parish and beyond our church boundaries. We are committed to our mission to be a place of welcome and a beacon of light and hope. We are thankful for the graces we have received to be joyful disciples of Jesus Christ. During this season of Lent, may we bring healing to a broken world through our care for one another so that all we do is for the greater glory of God and the salvation of all.

      God bless you!

      Sincerely in the Lord,
      Fr. Yesalonia