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PARISH ANNUAL REPORT: FISCAL YEAR 2018

I want to express my thanks on behalf of the whole parish to Martha and Rod Phillips for the research and for enabling the transmission of these archival images so that we may know the fascinating history of this parish. One hundred and nine years ago this month the cornerstone for the new parish church of St. Mary’s was laid. (I refer you to last Sunday’s bulletin, which is now on-line at the parish website, for the details of that event.)

It is moving indeed to see reflected back across the decades the faith and the commitment to their parish of the Catholics of the early 1900’s. The great collective sacrifice that was required of a working class, largely immigrant, parish to build such as church as this—and they did make it! They meant to build a most beautiful House of the Lord that would last for generations.

The task is now falling to us in this generation to preserve and give life to this patrimony which we have received. Against so many odds, Mary Immaculate of Lourdes—with its parish church one of the heritage churches of the United States—remains open as a full-service parish. In its present configuration, Mary Immaculate of Lourdes has become a “traveling parish” (i.e., people positively choosing to come here and join for its traditional Latin Mass apostolate and its liturgical-devotional life) as much as a territorial neighborhood parish. We are, here, a “little flock”, in the sense in which Christ Himself used the phrase with great tenderness: “Fear not, little flock, for it hath pleased your Father to give you a kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

Our Annual Report for this past Fiscal Year (which ended on June 30th, 2018) is printed out for you on two sheets, a yellow one for the Parish and a green one for the Parish Cemetery of St. Mary’s. They are available in the pamphlet rack in the front vestibule of the church for you to take.

The Parish Cemetery covered its costs again this year and shows a positive balance of $22,877.00. On the Parish side, we show a deficit of $76,895.00. Our total income actually exceeded our budget by $7,187.00. This good fortune was due to the extra generosity of a small number of “angel donors”. As you can see from the second page of the Parish Report, 53% of our total income came from ten donors. The total amount of direct, unsolicited gifts to the parish for last year was $239,743.00. These gifts off-set the budgetary deficit we had from our Offertory giving, which was $216,159.00. The total actual expenses did exceed our budget numbers significantly despite our best efforts at cost-control. We were able to cover the short-fall from parish savings.

The message I want to convey from all of these numbers is the same message I have already been giving: Stewardship. We are a 100% donor-dependent institution. Last year we recorded 161 donor-households (those who gave at least $250 per year). Of those 161 households, 79 gave less than $20-per-week: 117 out of 161 gave less than $50-per-week. What would our balance-sheet look like if “stewardship-level” giving were embraced by a large majority of our “little flock” parish? I realize it’s not easy during a time of demoralizing scandals and “little faith” to accept this. Nonetheless, stewardship-level giving among the lay faithful is the answer. 

(Fr. Higgins)

About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

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"If you are willing to serenely bear the trial of being displeasing to yourself, then you will be for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter."
- St. Therese of Lisieux (+1897)

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