Thursday, April 30, 2009

Legionary expansion has always been “fist to mouth”

The March 18, 2009 remarks of Legionary Director of Vocations, Rev. Anthony Bannon, on a teleconference with donors are evidence for Legionary attitudes to money and expansion that put their potential acquiring Southern Catholic College in an interesting light.

His remarks:

We’re faced with the challenge that results from the present economic situation, world wide and here in the US. Many of our constant supporters are themselves facing immense difficulties in balancing their own budgets and meeting their own commitments. They’re always giving to us from their generosity, a lot on fixed incomes and doing so heroically. All of us are facing difficult times… There’s an immediate effect in the ability of our most fervent and constant supporters to continue that support.

We’re finding that and we know it’s not a decrease in any interest in what we’re doing, but it’s the reality around us. If any of you listening have ideas for us or know avenues to find the support that we need, we’d be very grateful in knowing about that, if anyone is in a position to help in an increasing way, that of course would also be of very great help to us.

The seminarians continue themselves doing a lot of the work in our formation houses, a lot of the maintenance, a lot of the cleaning of the house, a lot of care of the gardens, but then there are so many that we get a good amount donated food in several of the seminaries. We keep on doing all those things to stretch the help that you give us as much as possible, but the challenge is definitely greater than what it was before.

We were blessed that the price of oil came down a bit, because we were facing in our seminarians an impossible situation really at the beginning of winter, but the prices did fall back a little bit, so that wasn’t as bad as we thought it was going to be, although it still is quite bad, quite a challenge for us.

We have at the same time been expanding. If we were just in Cheshire, just had the number of novices we had some years ago, if we hadn’t had to start off philosophy and theology down in New York, we wouldn’t be doing too bad, but it’s because of expansion, because of what that has meant to us in rising costs, upgrading our buildings, that expansion, that’s where our problems are, so we’ve had to go into debt, because of our development and gaining that debt now is quite a challenge.

Since we were started, it has been divine providence that has kept us going, and divine providence has not been expressing itself in miraculous money appearing out of nowhere, but in the miracle of the generosity that God puts in the heart of all of you who are listening to us.

We are a relatively recent congregation and we’ve been in expansion all of these years. We’ve never really caught our breath and we’ve never really reached the situation in which we know in 2008 that we had the budget for 2009, the money in the bank and ready to operate. We have been at times from fist to mouth, basically.

We don’t have a cushion but we’ve been creating programs that over time will create a cushion but these are programs that require a commitment and the money that comes in to them, like our annuities program, we can’t spend immediately. So where those are going will help us more in the future….

We’ve been cutting down to basics, down to essentials and are a little concerned about deferred maintenance in our buildings….

1 comment:

  1. You can't reconcile what Fr Bannon says with the Legion's move to head up SCC. It's like a beggar entering McDonald's, begging for a Happy Meal, then asking to speak with the store owner to become a partner.