December 31, 2023 – From the Pastor SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2023 THE FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY OF JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH Masses: Saturday, 5 pm / Sunday, 8 am, 10 am, 12 noon O God, who were pleased to give us the shining example of the Holy Family, graciously grant that we may imitate them in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity, and so delight one day in the joy of your eternal home. MONDAY, JANUARY 1, 2024 NEW YEAR’S DAY THE SOLEMNITY OF MARY, THE HOLY MOTHER OF GOD Mass, Sunday, New Year’s Eve 5 pm Masses, Monday, New Year’s Day / 8 am, 10 am & 12 noon This is one of the great feasts of the Christmas Season. The feast celebrates the fact that God chose to come among us through the cooperation of Mary. She gave flesh to Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Savior of the world. In addition to coming to Mass to celebrate this feast, it is also most appropriate to come to Mass to seek God’s blessing on the New Year of 2024. Dear Parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy, Happy New Year of 2024! In the name of our parish community, I pray and wish you a blessed and prosperous year. May this new year bring you all good things in life. I am limiting my personal message because I want to share with you the financial disclosure that was prepared by our Parish Finance Council, our Trustees, and me. It will let you know where we stand financially. So, here it is… As the year 2023 ends, let me share these highlights of this past year. We successfully culminated a year-long celebration of our parish’s 60 years of ministry to God’s people. We continued our mission through the stewardship of time and talent by our lay ministers. We received approval from the College of Consultors to perform repairs and improvements to our school plaza in order to extend its useful life and to enhance its attractiveness to potential tenants. The project was completed in August at a total cost of $133,095. We were prudent in our stewardship of treasure as shown on the Annual Financial Disclosure for Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2023. First, the good news: Our Operating Income over Operating Expenses was $144,831. We had a deficit in prior fiscal years; however, we now have Equity of $168,294 at the end of Fiscal Year 2023. Our remaining debt to the Archdiocese of $95,030 for the cost of past medical benefits for our employees should be fully paid by June 30, 2024. The good news comes with a caveat: Since we would have satisfied our debt to the Archdiocese, Restricted Rental Income from the lease of our school building to Starting Points of Hudson County could become unrestricted by July 1, 2024, unless we get approval from the Archdiocese to continue the restriction. We would be required to contribute 25% of the $400,000 annual rent towards the Archdiocesan School Endowment Fund. The remaining 75% of $400,000 would be included in Ordinary Income. Parish Assessment rate on our Total Ordinary Income would increase from 14% to 16%. The overall effect would be an increase of $168,000 in Operating Expenses. If we use Fiscal Year 2023 as a basis, we will have a Net Operating Loss of $23,000 instead of a Net Operating Income. Our parish is continually challenged financially by costly repairs and maintenance of an aging structure. We have the following projects to complete in our church building: Install a chair lift to access the Maria Room (parish hall). Upgrade our church restrooms. There is also a plan to upgrade the kneelers in church. Given the above scenario, we would not have the funds to continue our ministries and complete these projects. I ask that you increase your weekly offering to help defray these expenditures. Thank you, my dear parishioners, for your continued support of the mission of Our Lady of Mercy. We pray together, we listen to each other, and we walk together as companions on the journey to the new Jerusalem. ONE CHURCH, ONE LOVE. You will find here our parish’s comparative income statements prepared by the Parish Finance Council. (Click here) Love, Father Marty (Previous Week) Archdiocesan Santo Niño Celebrtion Next Sunday, January 7, there will be a Celebration of Santo Niño at the Cathedral Basilica in Newark. There will be a bus from OLM to the event. Space is limited to 50 people. Bus tickets are $15 each and are available at the parish office. The bus will leave OLM at 1 pm. 2024 Mass Intentions Our 2024 Mass Book opens for your Mass intentions starting tomorrow, Monday, November 27. Masses may be scheduled on weekdays during regular office hours, 8 am to 3 pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays, between 9 am to 1 pm. Please note that during the first month the Mass Book is open, we request that parishioners book no more than 5 Masses. In addition to Mass intentions, you may also make donations for the sanctuary lamp and for the bread and wine used at our Masses. The suggested offering for weekday Masses is $15, and the suggested offering for Sunday Masses is $25. The suggested offering for the sanctuary lamp that burn by the tabernacle, or the bread, or the wine to be used at our Masses is $25. 2024 Bible Diary Now on Sale at OLM The new edition of the popular Bible Diary is now on sale at the Parish Office after Mass or during regular office hours. Cost per copy is $15. The 2024 Bible Diary contains the assigned scripture reading for each day of the year, a reflection on the reading, and also information about the saint of the day. Many members of OLM have found the Bible Diary to be a great help for their personal daily prayer and for preparation for Daily and Sunday Mass. The Bible Diary makes a perfect Christmas gift.