Diocesan finance presentations begin
Friday, Nov. 24, 2023
Giving the Nov. 20 diocesan finance presentation at Holy Family parish hall were, from left, Candice Greenwald, diocesan CFO; Nevah Stevenson, director of the Catholic Foundation of Utah; Bishop Oscar A. Solis; Shannon Lee, director of the Office of Stewardship and Development; and Michael Courtney, director of archives and records. IC photo/Marie Mischel
OGDEN — On Nov. 20, Bishop Oscar A. Solis and members of the diocesan staff gave the first of three regional finance presentations to pastors and parish representatives at Holy Family Parish in Ogden. A second presentation is scheduled for Nov. 29 at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Holladay; the third will be Dec. 4 at Christ the King Catholic Church in Cedar City.
“We take the financial administration of our diocese as a serious and sacred responsibility,” the bishop told those gathered in the Holy Family parish hall. “Tonight’s financial presentation is to provide you with an understanding of how our diocese is structured and how it functions, spends and distributes monetary gifts donated in good faith and with heartfelt intent for the good of our Church.”
Members of parish councils and finance committees are “partners in ministry” who help pastors efficiently manage parish finances, the bishop said, and he encouraged those present to share what they learned with their fellow parishioners.
The slides that were presented at the meeting are available on the diocesan website under the finance office tab.
Four members of the diocesan staff gave presentations: Michael Courtney, director of archives and records; Candice Greenwald, the chief financial officer; Shannon Lee, director of the Office of Stewardship and Development; and Nevah Stevenson, director of the Catholic Foundation of Utah.
Courtney’s job includes records management, and he offered those present help with issues such as determining how long records must be kept, dealing with privacy concerns, and digitization of records.
Greenwald explained the various financial diocesan entities, which include not only the parishes and Catholic schools but also Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery, the Catholic Foundation of Utah and the lay employees retirement plan, among others.
The diocese has a $9.1 million budget; this funds clergy and religious, missions and organizations, educational, outreach, communications and administration, Greenwald said.
“I also want to point out that the diocese does not, on its own, have its own revenue source. We rely on the parishes, missions, schools and other ministries to fund our budget,” she said.
The largest single funding source is the annual Diocesan Development Drive, which provides 28.8 percent of the budget. This supports priests, seminarians and vocations; education, which includes parish religious education and youth ministries as well as the Catholic schools; and the diocese’s administration, technology and bishop’s office.
The parish assessment brings in another 19.3 percent, funding retired priests, continuing formation of existing priests and diocesan administration.
The disbursement and withdrawals from Catholic Foundation of Utah endowments, which make up about 7 percent of the budget, “funds a large portion of our seminarians, our existing clergy as well as provides support for our missions and education in our diocese,” Greenwald said.
The CFU has 438 endowments; the money in these is invested and each year distributions are given to the beneficiaries named in the endowment.
In her presentation, Lee noted that the number of parishioners who have donated to the annual DDD has dropped from more than 12,000 in 2003 to about 5,000 each year. However, the Bishop’s Leadership Society, whose members donate at least $1,000 each year, has increased their percentage of giving to the DDD.
“The secret [of the success] of the Diocesan Development Drive is the participation and the effort of our pastors,” Bishop Solis said, adding that he encourages them to “become witnesses of true stewardship.”
Almost all of the diocesan office directors contribute to the DDD, he said. “One of the core values that we see being instilled when you work for the diocese is … that of charity, service and stewardship.”
Along those same lines, he asked the priests to view their parishioners’ financial contributions during Mass as sacred because it is “money that the people give from the heart, not to us – not to the priest – but to God as an offering. It comes from their heart, from their blood, sweat and tears, whether it is a dollar, a quarter, a hundred or a thousand.”
The money given to the diocese “is used for a sacred purpose, for the mission of the Gospel that is entrusted to our local Church,” he said.
Saying that many people in the diocese aren’t familiar with the CFU, Stevenson described the foundation as “a steward for our future in this diocese.”
The CFU is meant “to serve both current and future needs through the establishment and stewardship of permanently endowed funds that are intended to provide support in perpetuity,” as well as “to inspire others to support where they can for the benefit of the generations of Catholics to come,” she said.
An endowment is a donation to a nonprofit organization “that uses the investment income for a very specific and strategic purpose,” she said.
Money from an endowment can be used only for the purpose designated by the donor, but these purposes vary widely. For example, most parishes and every Catholic school in the diocese has at least one endowment. Others are intended for the care of the homeless through Catholic Community Services, for seminarian education, for the ongoing formation of priests, for the Carmelite nuns in Salt Lake City, among many other purposes.
There are many ways to donate to the CFU, including cash, planned giving, stocks or real estate, she said, noting that donated stocks or property are sold and the money reinvested. All investments are done according to USCCB guidelines for responsible investments and with oversight from the CFU consultative Board of Trustees and the bishop, she said. Then, a portion of the earnings is distributed to the beneficiary.
Anyone can create an endowment or donate to an existing endowment, she said; the guidelines are on the diocesan website.
Closing the presentation, Bishop Solis urged the laity present to help their pastors “be good stewards of our people’s money, the money that is used to carry out the mission of the local Church of the Diocese of Salt Lake City.”