The global pandemic of COVID-19 has affected everyone from individuals to families to cities and towns to states, to countries and, yes, to the whole world. The Church is not immune to the impact of the pandemic. It has impacted the physical health and wellbeing of Her members and their spiritual health, disturbed by the suspension of public celebration of the Eucharist (Masses) as well as other sacramental celebrations for several months. The Church, from our local parish in Cohasset to the Archdiocese to the Universal Church, has experienced these effects. Among the many, varied effects of the pandemic on the Church, are financial effects.
Though St. Anthony Parish is blessed by some intentional donors (electronic donors and envelope users) and special gifts, it experienced a 50% decline in offertory giving during the months when public celebrations of Mass were suspended. The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program assisted in the short-term (assistance ended 7/31/2020) for what will be a long-term challenge. We have returned to public celebrations of the Eucharist and other sacraments. However, social distancing requirements and personal decisions about one’s health and safety affect the number of people coming to the parish church. The parish has experienced some increase in offertory giving, but still anticipates a 30% offertory decrease for July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021, when compared to the same time period last year. This has caused us to make the difficult decision to restructure our staff through elimination of positions.
Deacon Paul Rooney and his wife Mary and their family have been part of the fabric of life in Cohasset and St. Anthony of Padua Parish for 40+. In the late 1990s, Paul, with the Church, discerned a vocation to the Diaconate and then entered formation for the Diaconate leading to his Diaconate Ordination in 2002. Deacon Paul was assigned to St. Anthony of Padua Parish and has served here faithfully as an active Deacon until his 75th birthday and as a Senior Deacon since then. In 2007, the parish decided to add Deacon Paul to its paid staff. His responsibilities started with custodial and sexton work, but grew to include facilities and office management, when Fr. Mulvehill and the Parish Finance Council (PFC) recognized his capabilities. Deacon Paul rose to the task when more was asked of him in the later years of Fr. Mulvehill’s pastorate and since June 2019, a transitional time as the parish became part of a collaborative. In that time, he administered and coordinated the parish’s life, including coordination of the first phase of the rectory renovation. I continue to work with the PFC on ways to acknowledge Deacon Paul’s work for the parish and with Deacon Paul himself to understand the ways in which he would like to continue the diaconal ministry in the parish.
Rosemary Sullivan has had secretarial responsibilities at St. Anthony of Padua Parish for almost 6 years, first in a part-time position (15 hours/weekly) and, more recently, in an almost full-time position (30 hours/weekly). During the past year or so, Rosemary has been the first person a member or visitor might encounter when contacting the parish – whether in-person at the parish center, on the phone, or through email.
The decision to eliminate these positions is a difficult one, one not made lightly, one made only after prayer and consultation with the Parish Finance Council. The effective date was August 30, 2020. Please join me in thanking Deacon Paul and Mary and Rosemary for their work on behalf of the parish, and in thanking God for them and their work on behalf of the Church.
Rev. Scott A. Euvrard
Pastor: St. Anthony Parish/Cohasset & St. Mary of the Assumption Parish/Hull