Parish Verifications: A Letter from Father Jim
September 8, 2022
Dear OLA Parishioners,
In a few months the parish staff will begin processing Parish Verification forms for families who will be applying for Catholic Schools for the 2023-2024 school year. Shortly after that, forms will be submitted to the parish for families who wish to receive discounted tuition due to their active involvement in the parish.
If you will be submitting a parish verification form, it is important that you begin working toward Active Parishioner Status today if you are not currently participating in the life of the parish. Over the past two years, due to the difficulties of Covid-19, I have been more lenient regarding the requirements. That will no longer be the case.
When asking the parish to grant Active status you are asking us to tell the schools that, yes, you are actively involved in the life of the parish by regularly attending liturgies, participating in parish ministries, and supporting the good works of the parish financially though our offertory collection. (Please note that volunteering in or donating to the school does not count toward Active Parishioner Status. Nor does your child volunteering.)
As you know, these are the requirements set forth by the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Below you will find detailed information on requirements for Active Parishioner Status, but here are a few suggestions:
Are you coming to Mass? If you are concerned about whether we know you are coming to Mass, be sure to stop and talk to myself and my fellow priests. Make yourself known to us. This is especially important if you noted ‘infrequent’ Mass attendance previously.
Are you donating to the offertory collection? If not, it’s time to start. Online giving is a great way to ensure that this is fulfilled. You can learn more at www.olachurch.org/giving.
If your credit card has expired recently, be sure to update your online giving records.
Non-online givers, be sure to drop your cash/check donations regularly in your offertory envelope. Loose cash cannot be tracked.
Are you involved in ministry? OLA has over 70 ministries so there is something for you here! Remember that ministry involvement does not include just showing up and attending meetings, attending events, or dropping off an occasional donation. If you have concerns, speak to your ministry leader on what they consider active.
If you have a hardship that precludes your adhering to the requirements listed here, now is the time to contact me – not when it is time to fill out the Parish Verification Form. Please contact my secretary, Karen Kotara, at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a
meeting with me.
I look forward to seeing you around the parish this school year!
Yours in Mary, Our Mother.
Fr. Jim Duffy, Pastor
Active Parishioner Status for Catholic Schools
The Archdiocese of Atlanta requires all families to submit a Parish Verification form to their Catholic School to verify that the family is registered and active in the parish.
The Archdiocese of Atlanta defines “Active Parishioners” as:
Those who have been registered in the parish for at least six (6) months; (please note that if you registered during the last six (6) months in this parish, you must provide evidence that you were previously active members at another parish, for a cumulative period of at least six (6) months),
Attend Mass weekly and on Holy Days of Obligation, and
Contribute financially (in a trackable way) to support the parish and the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, and
Contribute time and talent by participating in at least one ministry in the parish.
You must adhere to all
of the requirements listed above as set forth by the Archdiocese of Atlanta’s Office of Catholic Schools to receive Active Parishioner Status.
See below for detailed, OLA specific, information on these requirements.
Your household must be officially registered as parishioners of Our Lady of the Assumption, as recorded in our parish database.
If you registered at OLA within past six months prior to submitting your Parish Verification, you must provide a statement of your active and contributing members status from your former parish to be granted Active Parishioner Status through OLA.
Notification must be sent directly from your former parish to OLA's Communications Director, Anne Stephens at email@example.com.
As Christian Catholics we are obligated to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.
“The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2181)
Parents of Catholic children should be particularly aware of this teaching of the Church, as they have solemnly promised God to raise their children accordingly to the law of Christ and His Church (Rite of Baptism).
Outside of health reasons, virtual Mass attendance does not apply.
Service is a large component of our response to the Gospel as well as our living out our Baptismal call. Holiness is prayer and action. Therefore, we serve our brothers and sisters in the local and universal communities.
With over 70 ministries, there is something for everyone at OLA! Our ministries fall under the following commissions: Worship, Religious Education and Faith Formation, Spritual Life, Christian Outreach, and Parish Life.
As the Parish Verification Process begins in the late Fall it is important to begin your service to the parish early!
Important Information on Volunteering
Volunteer involvement within the parish does not include attendance at events, but requires active membership and frequent participation in one or more of our many ministries. Also, active status in the parish does not include volunteering in the school or other non-parish service.
Don't think you have the time to volunteer?
(We hear that a lot.) Sign up for one of our worship ministries that take place during the weekend Masses - or join a ministry where you can serve on your schedule.
Donating vs. Volunteering
OLA parishioners are incredibly generous. Whenever there is a need our parishioners step in to donate to various drives and events. We are grateful to your donations to the good works of our parish, local community, and universal Church.
However, those one-time, holiday, or yearly donation drives do not count toward Active Parishioner Status.
Parental involvement is required.
While we encourage and appreciate your child/ren's ministry, Acrtive Parishioner Status is dependent upon the involvement of parents only.
Be sure to check with your ministry leaders on what they require to be considered active members of the ministry.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that the fifth precept of the church, "you shall help to provide for the needs of the Church," means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church. Without your consistent financial support, the church cannot function.
We understand that the level of financial support will vary from family to family depending, of course, upon family income and circumstances.
However, many dioceses recommend contributing 5% of take-home pay to parishes and an additional 5% to other charities.
Please note that the following, while greatly appreciated and important, do NOT count toward your active parishioner status:
Donations that do not contribute to the operational expenses of the parish,
Donations to OLA School, and
Donations to outside charities through OLA's online giving portal (this includes IOH, St. Vincent de Paul, Second Collections, etc...)
Tuition and Assesment
Tuition for active Catholic families at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic School for the 2022-2023 school year is $10,170. The tuition rate for non-active families is $11,670.
Each year, OLA parish is required to pay an annual School Assessment fee to the Archdiocese of Atlanta to help offset the cost of Catholic education in our Archdiocese. This year, our parish assessment fee is $56,000.
All students in the Archdiocesan Catholic school system benefit from this financial subsidy from our parish. These funds come directly from our parishioner-funded offertory.
Therefore, if your family is an active, contributing member of our parish, you are helping to support Catholic students within our Archdiocesan school system and you can receive the benefit of lower tuition.
How to Donate
If your family is experiencing hardship and cannot fulfil these requirements, contact Karent Kotara, Pastor's Secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a meeting with Father Jim, Pastor, to discuss your situation.
Be sure to contact Fr. Jim as soon as the hardship arises - don't wait until it is time to fill out your Parish Verification.