St. Elizabeth Ann Seton RC Church
105 Summer Road
Three Bridges, NJ 08887-2307
Phone: 908-782-1475 Fax: 908-782-6230
April 4, 2020
Dear Fellow Parishioner,
Let me begin by introducing myself. My name is James Letchford, and I serve as chair of SEAS’ Finance Council. I, and the other members of the Council, together with our Pastor, Father Tom, are praying for you and sincerely hope that you are well during these anxious and uncertain times. The Parish Finance Council includes Deacon Paul Santella, James McQuade, Lois Dornan and Father Tom.
This is an historic and unprecedented time for us as a nation and as a church. The steps we are taking to contain the spread of COVID-19 in our community have required many things of us thus far, and perhaps even more will come. For the present, we may not have access to our church for the celebration of Mass and other programs which help build us in faith, but we are not deprived of God’s presence and the grace which constantly upholds us.
Certainly, as we see the numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 growing exponentially almost daily, our thoughts and prayers turn to those suffering from this virus, for their families and loved ones, and for our healthcare workers who are trying to assist those infected and contain the spread of the disease. But we also know that the effects of the Coronavirus will be felt in other ways too. It will affect people’s livelihoods and their ability to support themselves and their families as some businesses close temporarily, or even permanently, because of containment efforts. It will also affect our Parish, which relies on us to provide the resources needed to sustain its life and ministry.
We have just passed our first weekends with only a partial Sunday offering, and more offerings will be reduced or eliminated in the weeks to come. This will create a financial hardship for us and threaten our ability to maintain parish life as we know it. However, you can help us support SEAS during the days ahead so that we can continue to be a beacon of Catholic faith and mission in our community.
First, we are asking you to pray for all our Parishes, Clergy and Pastoral Staffs, our Bishop and the Diocesan Staff, who give of themselves every day in witness to Christ and in service to our community. Our church is open for you to make a visit; so come and offer your prayers in our ‘parish home.’
Second, please join our online giving program, if and when our envelope company makes it operational. Many of us already use online methods to pay our bills and other obligations. Online parish giving should be easy to register for; it is safe, secure, and provides a reliable source of income to help us meet our obligations and fund our ministries. The details will be given via email [make sure we have your email address!] and/or our Parish website. In the meantime, you may electronically make a donation with no cost to either you or the Parish directly from your bank; at your request, they will mail a check directly to the Parish.
Third, if you continue to use the envelope system, please remember to mail in your envelopes on a weekly basis. We rely on your generosity to provide the support needed to maintain our parish’s life and ministries.
If you are among those whose circumstances prevent you from financially supporting the Parish or Diocese of Metuchen, you can support them through prayer and by your engagement in church life. Our Parish can only do what we, the parishioners, enable it to do. So please pray for SEAS and ask the Lord how you can give back to help us serve our mission.
Please pray for our Parish Staff members, most of whom have been furloughed until the regular schedule resumes. The Diocese directed Pastors, with their Finance Committee’s assistance, to determine how to address salaried employees. Of our 3 full time with benefits staff members, only Father Tom will NOT be furloughed; thank God! Of our 8 part time with no benefits staff members, only 3 will NOT be furloughed; they will only work the hours necessary to keep the Parish Office, Religious Formation Office and Parish Plant functional. We fully intend NOT to take the option of eliminating ANY positions as we already run a ‘very lean machine’ as Father Tom calls it.
We are also blessed in that many, MANY people offer their services without receiving any ‘earthly pay!’ Most of our ministries and events are ‘run’ by such people: our Catechists and Aides; the Coordinators of social events like Mardi Gras, Santa Breakfast, Easter Egg Extravaganza, etc.; our Altar Servers, Cantors, Children’s Liturgy of the Word leaders, Choirs, Collection Counters, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Readers, Ushers; our missalettes are even changed seasonally by the Daily Mass attendees. May God bless them for their service.
Lastly, our Pastor, Father Tom, and the members of the SEAS Finance Committee are here to answer your questions, or assist you in registering for automated giving in our Parish. Please call or email us at 908-782-1475 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
During these uncertain times, we place our trust in God and are resolved to stay faithful to all the Lord calls us to be as a Parish. Let’s do what we can to help our Parish fulfill its mission by not failing to provide the resources it needs to do this.