As a member of Holy Trinity’s Parish Finance Council, I know that more than 95% of the contributions to our parish and school directly support our own ministries. Our donations are not to an amorphous group, or even principally to the larger Catholic Church—these donations support our community’s efforts to make a difference by doing more for others.
Our gifts literally help keep the lights on in our church and school. Thousands each week receive the sacrament of the Eucharist, with more than a thousand receiving other sacraments over the course of a year. Our Jesuit PK-8 school has nearly 340 students, 18% of whom annually receive need-based financial assistance for tuition and academic support. In addition to the general financial aid program, the school also has 10 “Gavigan Scholars” who receive full scholarships, after-school tutoring and a month of summer school. The Gavigan Program is funded in part through the parish’s social justice tithe. Thanks to the support of the parish and the schools’s Annual Fund, HTS is a need-blind school, meaning we accept a student without economic conditions or considerations.
Every year, over 700 religious education students are taught by hundreds of volunteers. And the efforts of our Ignatian Spirituality programs help others discern their true self and support the promotion of and formation in Ignatian Spirituality. Through retreats, spiritual direction and education, thousands of parishioners have been blessed with an Ignatian discernment to help them find courage to do magic for others. With a tradition of Christian formation going back over 200 years, this parish has helped tens of thousands of families grow in our faith, serve others and achieve their dreams.
Our social justice tithe program gave $400,000 last year (10% of our total parish revenues) to 27 worthy organizations that support those in need or work for justice on behalf of the marginalized. But our efforts are more than monetary! We are a parish of hands-on volunteers who serve others in need. This last Power of One day saw hundreds of volunteers help tens of programs around the area. Two years ago, hundreds helped a Syrian refugee family of eight turn from a life of horror and fear to one filled with joy, hope, and promise. We have been hands-on in Haiti helping rebuild communities and schools, bringing new hope and blessings. Our gifts serve meals to the homeless, help families in need find new homes, advocate for and assist the marginalized, and bring hope to children.
For our family, this parish is our Church–this community is the representation of our Catholicism that is positively impactful. The Holy Trinity community has accomplished all of this and more, over 100 ministries helping thousands each year. At a time when many leaders are proclaiming the need to do less for others, we as a community have said we feel it is important to set an example of more. To do more, to care more, to love more, and to serve more. Our family knows this parish cannot do more without gifts of time, talent, and contributions. That is why we give to Holy Trinity. As we begin the month of November, a month traditionally held aside as a time to consider the “Last Things,” I invite you to join me in asking the questions, “How am I doing on this journey? How do I need to show love and concern for the people in my life in clearer ways? What do I need to do to prepare better for my return to God’s embrace?”