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Parish Verifications for Catholic Schools - Important Information

Dear OLA Families, 





My staff and I have just gone through 8 months of processing over 500 parish verifications for Catholic Schools. As you can imagine, it is a huge undertaking. As the school year comes to a close, it is time for you to determine how you will fulfill your obligation to the parish.


As pastor, it gives me great joy to see the number of parishioners who actively participate in ministry and liturgy at OLA and whose financial contributions make a significant impact on our ability to provide ministry for the community.


However, I am disheartened by the number of parishioners who do very little ministry, infrequently attend Mass, and do not financially support the parish in an  impactful way - all while expecting me to provide access to a greatly reduced tuition or preferential treatment in the application process.


First and foremost, as Catholics you are obligated to attend Mass weekly. I understand that life circumstances can get in the way of weekly attendance - such as illness - but you still need to commit to the most important aspect of our faith.


Service to the community is vital and we cannot offer the programs, ministries, and social activities without you. It is shocking to me how difficult it is to get people to


volunteer in our parish. The 80/20 maxim is alive and well here at OLA. (Although I think we are closer to 65% of the work being done by 35% of parishioners than 80/20.)


Last October, over Treasure Weekend, we asked for each household to strive toward a $40 a week offertory commitment if it is within your means. Many of you go way beyond that ask and I thank you. Your generosity is a great blessing for our community. It is disappointing to me how many households donate so little.


Detailed information on the Archdiocesan requirements for Active Parishioner status are well known, but can be found at www.olachurch.org/parish-verification.


OLA specific information can be found there as well.


The following is required for Active Parishioner Status for Catholic Schools:

 

  • Mass Attendance: Unfortunately, this year we had to reinstate dropping envelopes so that we can verify your attendance. You must drop an envelope when you     attend Mass. Also, provide a photo when you submit future verifications so that we can see if we recognize you. Job schedules and children’s athletics are not legitimate excuses for infrequent Mass attendance. Actually, I love to see kids come to Mass in uniform (clean or dirty!).

  • Ministry: Adults in the household must be actively participating in at least one parish ministry. I would like to see at least 20 hours of actual service per year. Donations to drives for various charities do not count as ministry. Check with your Ministry Leader to determine how your participation meets Parish Verification requirements. This does not include children volunteering or volunteering for outside agencies. Also, attending parish functions does not count toward being active in ministry.

  • Financial Support: Good stewardship requires that we give back to God from the blessings that He has given to us. Many dioceses recommend contributing 5% of take-home pay to parishes, 1% to the Archbishop's Annual Appeal, and 4% to the other charities. We need your financial support to keep the lights on - and to provide ministry and services to the community. Households requesting active parishioner status should be donating a minimum of $1500 to parish offertory in the calendar year and have a pledge on file (www.olachurch.org/pledge).


The expectations listed above are required for households wishing to obtain Active status. This information will be verified. My staff carefully reviews every verification that comes into our office - and I review those that do not meet the requirements. Over the past years - especially since COVID - I have been lenient with regard to verifications. The time has come to hold you accountable to what you are asking of the church.


I understand that there are times when circumstances or emergencies preclude your ability to fulfill these obligations. In that case, you will need to contact my office to set up a meeting with me prior to the start of the upcoming school year (for the 2025-26 School Years Verification) - or as soon as a problem arises.


Again, most of you are faithful stewards of the parish, and I thank you. You make OLA the great, vibrant, faith-filled and compassionate community that it is. You are a blessing to our community.


Yours in Mary, Our Mother,


Father Jim Duffy, SM, Pastor


 

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