Message from Fr. Ed about Donations and Parish Finances During COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Order

Revised April 9, 2020

One of my least-favorite duties as pastor is to communicate with you from time-to-time about money and parish finances. But just as you parents, as the heads of your families, have to manage your family finances and communicate to your families about the realities of those family finances, so it is for me as the head of our OLG parish family. Especially during this time when the COVID-19 pandemic is having such a dramatic effect on our family finances, careful management of those finances is more necessary than ever.

I am going to ask that those of you who have been contributing money to our OLG parish community continue to do so as best as you can. I also am going to ask that those of you who have not been contributing money to our OLG parish community to begin to do so as best as you can. But first, let me describe the decisions that I have made as pastor to reduce our parish expenses as much as possible. Click here for our three-month parish budget revised to reflect our current COVID-19 realities.

I have now furloughed all but three parish employees, and the hours and pay of those employees has been cut to the bare minimum. The three employees who remain will provide the bare minimum support for the following:

  • Minimal administrative support for parish activities continuing during the stay-at-home order, including livestream Masses, private Masses celebrated by the parish priests for previously-scheduled Mass intentions, urgent sick calls, the parish website, OLG Messenger and other parish communications.
  • Minimal parish accounting and banking
  • Minimal maintenance and repair of parish buildings and property to avoid wasting of facilities, as well as lawn and landscaping service
  • Security for the property (which unfortunately has to include not allowing our brothers and sisters experiencing homelessness to take up residence on the property – in our previous experience, these folks eventually commit acts of vandalism, including urination and defecation – we just simply cannot allow our parish property to be abused in that manner, now or ever)
  • Overseeing and supervising the community food giving program in La Habra, in partnership with neighboring grocery stores, food distribution centers, Second Harvest, and the faith-based community of La Habra – our food pantry on Hillcrest Street is one of the few North Orange County food pantries remaining open
  • Preparations for parish activities eventually to be ramped back up after the stay-at-home order is relaxed

The revised parish budget also includes expenses related to payroll, room and board, health insurance and other benefits for Fr. Randy and myself.  Please note that it has been decided that all priests’ salaries in the Diocese of Orange will be reduced by 25% for six months beginning with the April 24 payroll. The current revised budget reflects that reduction in pay.

We will continue to pay our furloughed employees’ health insurance for 60 days (per the policy of the Diocese of Orange), and most of these employees will qualify for unemployment payments under the federal stimulus package. So with the payments expected from the federal stimulus package, I do not expect that these furloughed employees who qualify for unemployment payments will suffer greatly from a financial perspective, at least for the next 60 days while we are continuing to pay their health insurance. And I hope to be able to call all of these furloughed employees back to work within that 60 days, but with the current uncertainty, I have not been able to make any promises. Most of these employees have been on staff here at OLG for many years, so it has been very painful both for them and for me to furlough them. But it has been necessary for the responsible and prudent management of our parish finances.

Obviously some expenses will be reduced during this time simply because our parish campus is closed and all but minimal parish operations are suspended during this time – for example, electricity, hosts and wine for Mass, etc.

With all of these reductions in expenses, we have been able to reduce our average weekly expenses to $14,900, so that is the average weekly amount that we will need in donations to maintain these minimal parish operations during this time.

Thus, I ask that all of us donate to OLG during this time as we are able. As always, let me be clear: I do not want anyone to make any donation that would not be financially responsible or prudent. I do not want to take any food out of anyone’s mouth during this or any other time! I do not want to take the shirt off of anyone’s back! And I do not want anyone to give up the roof over his or her head! But that said, to continue having an OLG parish family in a very minimal way during this time – and so that we will still have an OLG parish family when we get to our “new normal” following the COVID-19 pandemic – will still require some money in the meantime.

So again, as you are able, please consider donating to our OLG family during this time:

  • The easiest way to donate is to set up recurring donations online – please click here to do so. One-time donations also may be made here.
  • You can also donate by mail: Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 900 W. La Habra Blvd., La Habra, CA 90631.
  • Or if you’re out and about doing grocery shopping, you can stop by the Parish Office and slip your donation through the mail slot to the left of the front door.

I thank you for doing whatever you are able to do for our OLG parish family during this time. With God’s help and together with one another, I know that we can get through this difficult time and emerge stronger, closer and more loving than ever!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. Ed