The pastor at St. Gertrude Parish, Krakow, is urging school families to both financially contribute and collaborate with parish life.
In the last two Sunday bulletins, Father Mathew Cheruparambil has shared figures and other information on the “ailing financial situation” of the parish and school.
A detailed parish financial report also will be mailed out in the near future.
Father Mathew said too many school families, which include students from St. Ann Parish and other areas, are not contributing anything to the parish.
St. Ann Parish, which does not operate a school, does provide subsidies for students.
“The total dollar amount we spend for families that do not financially contribute to the parish is $215,280,” he stated in the Sept. 30 bulletin.
In this past Sunday’s bulletin, he said if the current situation persists, and if the proposed change in the Catholic education system in the Washington Deanery delays, the parish will be able to keep the school open only for one more year — leaving the parish finances in the red.
Father Mathew, who joined the parish this summer, stated while the school is the No. 1 priority, the parish has many other spiritual and faith-formation ministries that should be taken care of, but are not, due to a lack of money.
He stated it’s time to clarify between Catholic education versus inexpensive private education.
“Education the parish provides has sadly transitioned to cheap private education for many families with the sugar-coat prefix Catholic,” he stated in Sunday’s bulletin. “A good majority, as you saw in my last column, think that ‘Catholic education of my child is your responsibility, not mine.’ I am not sure if socialism is the best model for us.”
He said the committed and passionate school families are the minority.
“They who lack convictions and are unwilling to contribute to the parish life or practice their faith, but will continue to tap the parish finances . . . will cause the closing of the school in the future if the situation does not improve,” he said. “The committed and passionate will suffer equally with the lukewarm and uncommitted. The parish will go bankrupt too.”
Father Mathew said if the school should continue, the parish and school will need to amend their current policies, including ensuring financial contributions from all school families without exception.
“Catholic education by the parish would be sustainable only if the school community here owns financial responsibility for the education of their children,” he stated.
Father Mathew also offered several suggestions, including:
Every registered school family must financially contribute according to their ability — no contribution then no subsidy.
No school family will be registered just to receive a parish subsidy alone.
Families without any parish affiliation will have to pay the non-parishioner rate.
“United we stand, divided we fall,” he said.
The school reported 198 students in preschool through eighth grade at the start of the year. Of those, 139 are in the K-8 classes.
Editor’s Note: The Missourian was unable to reach Father Mathew for a direct comment because he is attending a priest convocation through Friday.