Catholics urged to read church report

Four seminarians of the Archdiocese of Louisville were ordained to the transitional diaconate March 25. The Archdiocese of Louisville educated 11 seminarians in formation for the priesthood last year at a cost of about $700,000, according to the latest Accountability Report released this week. (Record File Photo by Kayla Bennett)

This week, the Archdiocese of Louisville is publishing its 33rd Accountability Report, which includes details about its finances based on a third-party audit, as well as an accounting of the works of the local church carried out in the fiscal year that ended in July 2023. 

An abbreviated version is published on pages A3 to A7 of this week’s issue of The Record. A more detailed version and past reports are available online at archlou.org.

Church leaders are encouraging Catholics to read the report, both to know how their resources are used, as well as to appreciate the scope of the church’s work.

“I’m always in awe when I look at the breadth of the past activities that occur across the archdiocese,” said Dr. Brian B. Reynolds, chancellor and chief administrative officer of the archdiocese. “Tens of thousands of people rely on the work of the church every single day. Much of that happens in parishes with sacramental life and also in schools in the education ministry of the church.

“When you add in social services, formation of clergy (for example), the numbers multiply every day,” he said.

Reynolds noted that Catholics tend to think of the church in terms of their own parish and don’t always realize the impact of the church in the community, what the archdiocese does that no single parish could do on its own. 

The Accountability Report offers that view, he said.

The report is divided into two sections. The first details the work of the archdiocese, citing a variety of statistics that demonstrate how resources were used in the previous year. The second details the financials, parsing the $17.8 million in operating expenses and $19.3 million in operating income last year.

The Archdiocese of Louisville opened a eucharistic chapel in the University of Louisville’s Interfaith Center last October, one of the various ways the archdiocese used the resources provided by the people of God. The annual Accountability Report, published this week, details these works and the finances of the local church. (Record File Photo by Ruby Thomas)

It notes, for example, that the archdiocese trained 40 people from 13 parishes to carry out the Walking with Moms in Need initiative to assist mothers in crisis.

Nearly 100 students learned about vocations through the “Sequere Me” program for sixth-graders last year.

The archdiocese’s Catholic Campus Ministry opened a chapel at the University of Louisville for eucharistic adoration and other prayer.

The financial section of the report notes that seminary education cost $700,000 last year. That funding provided a year of formation for 11 men on the path to priesthood, men who may serve all around the archdiocese one day.

“No parish can take that on,” Reynolds noted. “It’s the work of the archdiocese to educate the next generation of priests.”

Reynolds said he hopes all Catholics read through the report, adding “I think if they saw the bigger picture that’s explained through the report, their faith would be enhanced.”

In an introductory letter to the report, Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre writes, “This annual exercise, which has continued in this archdiocese for 33 years, flows from our commitment to transparency and responsiveness as we present an account of our fidelity to our mission to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and to the stewardship of our financial resources.”

That transparency and responsiveness are key to understanding the report, said Reynolds, who said the people of God give generously and have a right to see how their resources are used.

“We do an accountability report because we have to remember that the resources we have are the resources of the people of God,” he said. “We have to be accountable to them. 

‘We do an accountability report because we have to remember that the resources we have are the resources of the people of God. We have to be accountable to them.’ 

Dr. Brian B. Reynolds

“That doesn’t mean simply reporting on dollars and cents. The Accountability Report is a way to provide the faithful with information about how their resources have been used for the people of God.”

In the pages of the report, he said, people will find reason for optimism.

“One of the challenges facing the church is the increasing secularity of our communities and country. The church stands in contrast,” said Reynolds. “It’s hard not to be discouraged by those voices — critics of the church. This report shares the good news.”The full report can be found at www.archlou.org/about-the-archdiocese/publications-media/publications/. The latest audited financial statement will be posted on that page later this fall.

Marnie McAllister
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Marnie McAllister
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