Ask the GM: Information About and For SJE

Over the past 4 years, I have taken a few moments out of every week to develop and communicate our Parish Mission.  This column that has described our Parish Family, showcased Catholic thought leaders (in particular Pope Francis), and generally kept you abreast of the goings on here at Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church.  Many of you have contacted me in one way or another over the past few months about various questions, concerns, comments, and general communication requests.  While I have responded directly to those requests, some of them made sense to provide to the entire Parish Family.  Here are a few:

What is this CFA thing, some kind of tax from the Diocese?

The Catholic Faith Appeal is indeed an annual program from the Diocese in which they require each and every parish to provide a percentage of their prior year income to assist with the valuable and essential programs of the Diocese, including Seminarian education, Catholic Charities, and Catholic Schools.  The assessment is roughly equal to 26% of our income as a Parish Family, but it should not be considered a “tax”.  This goal is incredibly important to ensure these social programs continue to support the community and those most in need across the area.  Last year, we were not only able to meet our goal of $521,000, we exceeded it with a final amount given of $544,734.03.  Saint John is blessed as a parish that can and does serve a significant portion of the CFA.  Our 2018 goal has stayed stable at $521,000 due to our Capital Campaign, and we still have the third highest parish goal in the Diocese.  I want to thank all of you who continue to give to the CFA on our behalf.  We will have a special weekend devoted to the CFA very soon, so stay tuned for more information.

I got a weird email from Father John.  What does it mean?

Father John Ludden, our Pastor, is a widely recognized and respected priest in the Diocese and in the larger Catholic Community.  His work on the National Pontifical Mission Society as well as his multiple responsibilities within the Diocese have spread his name and his vision far beyond the confines of our Parish Family.  However, with that positive engagement, sometimes a detractor or another person wishing to take advantage of his status will attempt to use his good name to spread falsities or misinformation.  This is called “Spear Phishing” in tech speak, where someone would use direct and specific information about an individual to attack and steal financial or personal information.  Please always check the email address of a message.  Most of these attacks are originating from Gmail or other free email systems, where someone can pretend to be Father John until that account is shut down.  Father John will only email a Parish Family member from his official (and secured) St. John email account.  Please always be careful about email communications and if you question its validity, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call our office.

What is the difference between a “Second Collection” and a “Special Collection”?

The Catholic Church is a massive hierarchical organization, with hundreds of years of interesting, complicated, and intriguing processes and procedures.  Some requests for support and giving come directly from the Vatican, others from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and still others come from the Diocese of Venice directly or from our local church.  It is up to the Pastor of each parish to develop and approve the collections provided through his responsibilities outlined in the Code of Cannon Law.  Here at Saint John, we have three types of giving during Masses: Offertory, Special, and Second Collections.  The Offertory Collection is our normal weekly collection, which is the first basket that is distributed throughout the pews.  Your wonderful contributions toward our Offertory allow us to fulfill the Mission of St. John on a weekly basis.  If there is an additional identified need, the Pastor will approve one of the other types of giving.  A Special Collection would be called for as a separate gift that will be collected in that same Offertory basket and it will be separated during our Counting process.  There may be a separate envelope provided for these collections, so please ensure those envelopes are placed in the same basket as the Offertory.  A Second Collection is a very special occasion at St. John and is reserved for extremely essential or emergency requisitions.  Those situations will include a second basket being passed during Mass.  We attempt to specify these collections the week before in the bulletin.  Please listen to the announcements before Mass to ensure you know how to provide your generosity.

So… The Ballroom??

We have been working as hard as humanly possible with our Construction Manager, Gates Construction, our architect, Studios Plus, and the County to move forward with our essential damage repairs from Hurricane Irma.  We have kicked the Ballroom repair and renovation program into high gear this week with the final permit being approved by the County.  It will be a completely renewed space for our Parish Family and the larger community, but it will take time to complete correctly.  As much as I would like to put a timeframe on its completion, that would not be appropriate at this time.  We will keep you all informed on every facet, from the completely new floors (including a new dance floor), walls, window coverings, doors, divider wall, ceiling, lighting, and the many other renewal components of the Ballroom that will transform it into a premier location for events and programs in Naples.

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