By Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.
Dear Parishioners and Friends:
A religious order of nuns staffed a small hospital in a quaint country town. A young doctor on staff happened to be an avid golfer. Everyone teased him about his golf addiction, especially the nuns in charge. It so happened that his doctor’s wife was expecting a baby. One day she unexpectedly experienced labor pains. The doctor rushed his wife to the hospital. They didn’t quite make it in time. She gave birth to a baby boy on the grassy lawn in front of the emergency room. Thanks be to God, all went well!
When the doctor received a bill for the emergency room services, he objected. With tongue in cheek he argued with the bookkeeper. He claimed that there should be no emergency room fees since his wife gave birth to his son on the lawn. Mother Superior happened to overhear the doctor’s argument. She quickly approached the doctor, snatched the bill from his hand, scratched out ‘Emergency Room Services,’ and scrawled across the page in large letters ‘GREEN FEES.’
Let me begin with the original rectory – the second building east of Gevers. Six Redemptorists live in this rectory. The rectory is owned by the Redemptorist Fathers of San Antonio. Those living in the rectory are: Father Alton Carr, Father Rob Ruhnke, Brother Charlie Fucik, Father Francis Pham, Father Bob Lindsey, and Fr. Jim Shea.
The building east of the church was originally known as the Notre Dame Convent. Now it has two names – the front of the building is called ‘The Parish Center and Offices.’ The back of the building and the second floor is known as ‘The Theology Residence.’ Fourteen Redemtorists, studying theology at the Oblate School of Theology, and two directors live in this building. These men are vowed Redemptorists who come from across the U.S., the Caribbean, Canada and Ireland. The Redemptorist Provincials from seven different units, known as ‘The Conference,’ jointly subsidize this program.
The Archdiocese owns the church, the school and the Theology Residence. St. Gerard Parish manages these buildings. The Conference – is leasing The Theology Residence from the Archdiocese for $4,000 a month, plus 3/4 of the utility bills. Since the parish manages the building, the lease goes to the parish, not the Archdiocese.
There are three Corporations associated with St. Gerard. All the parishes of this Archdiocese, which includes St. Gerard Parish, are listed under the corporation ‘Archdiocese of San Antonio.’ We Redemptorist Priests and Brother have our corporation. “The Redemptorist Priests of San Antonio.” Finally, the Theology Residence has recently been incorporated, ‘North American Redemptorist Theology Residence.’ Our parishioner, John Rothermel, handled the legal work.
Over the summer months many people worked on the Theology Residence, preparing it for the arrival of the students. Since rooms had been vacant for nearly 20 years, they required painting, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, carpeting/tiling and plastering. Many folks cleaned the rooms. Each room was fitted with new sheets, pillow cases, blankets, comforters and rugs. The Redemptorist Conference paid for all the trade work. Many parishioners, along with the Conference, paid for the outfitting of the rooms. No money was taken from St. Gerard Parish coffers to update these rooms.
In the months to come we will be speaking about money. We will publish our financial report and budget. We also want to remind everyone about the Archdiocesan Capital Campaign. Every parish is the Archdiocese is involved in this campaign and is given a goal. Our goal over three years is $334,000.
Now, I want to state that we in the parish office along with the Finance Committee are trying our best to be good stewards. A steward is a person who manages the affairs of a household or an estate for the owner. At St. Gerard we are managing the affairs of God on earth. Everything we have is given to us by God. As God’s people we are also called to share these gifts with others. The bible refers to sacrificial giving. It means that God comes first, rather than giving God whatever is left over. The Jews were asked to thank God with a ‘tithe’ – the first 10% of the fruits of the harvest. They were promised a payoff of one hundred fold in return. How close do you come to what was expected of early Christians?
3% 5% 8% 10%
$200 6.00 10.00 16.00 20.00
$300 9.00 15.00 24.00 30.00
$400 12.00 20.00 32.00 40.00
$500 15.00 25.00 40.00 50.00
$700 21.00 35.00 56.00 70.00
$1,000 30.00 50.00 80.00 100.00
In the ‘Pontius Puddle’ cartoon, Pontius asks God, “How should a materialistic Christian dress for eternity?” A voice comes from the clouds, “Start with flame retardant underwear.”
Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.