Parish and Oratory Finances

The following is a message from Father Andrew Wise, Parish Priest, which appeared in the parish newsletter on the weekend of 27 & 28 February, 2016:

Dear Parishioners

One aspect of establishing a new Oratory within a Parish is that there may be confusion at times about how the Oratory fits in and relates to the wider Archdiocese and particularly to the local Parish that it serves. An element of this is the financial links and arrangements between the Parish and the Oratory. It is very important for me as Parish Priest to clearly and accurately communicate the facts about this to avoid possible misunderstandings and misinformation.

The finances of the Parish and Oratory are in fact kept strictly separate. This is the expectation of both civil and in Church law. The Oratory does not use Parish funds to finance its own ends, for instance paying for seminarians to complete their studies. The Oratory solely relies on donations for this. At the same time the Parish does not draw on any Oratory funds for its own projects, like the air conditioning of Mary Immaculate church. When people donate to either the Oratory or the Parish we always respect and abide by their specific intentions in making the donation. In addition, the collections at Sunday Mass are directed towards the Parish only.

Each Parish pays the Archdiocesan ‘ financial package’ for having the services of its own Parish Priest. In the case of our Parish this is myself, a member of the Oratorian community. However, the Parish pays no more or less than any other Parish in Brisbane for its Parish Priest. So, while the Parish pays for only one Oratorian priest as PP, in significant ways it also receives the services of an additional three priests of the Oratory at no cost! The funding for my living as Parish Priest amounts to the only financial link between the Parish and the Oratory community.

Please do keep these facts in mind, when you hear about Parish projects that you may or may not believe to be worthwhile. These will be initiatives for the good of the Parish which will have involved consultation with leadership groups like the parish finance committee and parish council. They may well also be supported by all the Oratory Fathers, but that does not mean that donated Oratory funds are diverted to these projects.

The Parish needs to maintain itself and finance its own projects by the generosity of Parishioners through the collections and direct debits. The Oratory has to grow and support its seminarians through the generosity of its own donors. These donors sometimes also freely choose to support the Parish as well, because they recognise the Oratory has been given the responsibility and pastoral care of the Parish.

Father Andrew Wise

Parish Priest