Last week when we published that we have a three thousand plus deficit hanging over us, generous donors came and gave their donations. One gave a check for one thousand, another came with a five hundred peso bill, and still another came to give a hundred. I was touched by this profound gesture of generosity, so that, for a time I entertained taking back our word to reduce the pages of our weekly paper from the usual ten pages to eight pages to save on paper. But what kept me from backtracking on this decision was the data given to us by our accountant Mr. Roming Tan who painstakingly traced how many people drop a donation during the second collections. He based his findings on the number of bills dropped and averaged them at one bill per person. At the same time he counted the amount of coins dropped which he averaged at one peso per person. With these data he concluded thus: “Out of 7,000 copies distributed during 10 masses, only 3,319 parishioners gave during our second collections or only 48% of the seven thousand persons who got Candle Light contributed for its support.”
Less than fifty percent of those who get our newsletter gave for its support. This is one harsh reality which we have to face. And I believe we could not go on living like this forever that every time we have a deficit we have to run to our big donors and beg for extra donations. Whenever I do this, I feel that I am in a way teaching our people to remain irresponsible and unconcerned of their duty to support their church. I believe we have first to educate our people to be generous, to offer voluntarily their support for a parish project which they see worthwhile supporting. We have to educate our people to be more attentive and sensitive as to what is happening in our parish, to be concerned about where the parish gets its funding for this and that particular project, to be concerned as to how it uses its funds, which I assure you in Candle Light it borders in frugality. We have not even paid our laser printer ink after almost six months.
What hurts me at times is the sight of some people just grabbing a bunch of Candle Light with that I-don’t-care-anyway-it’s-for-free look and just speed away without concern for the fact that other families would like to avail of them too. The worse sight was when somebody just left them on the benches outside the cathedral because anyway its for free. We Filipinos never value anything that’s free.
The decision then to limit it to eight pages stands, even with the help of our more generous donors coming in. But my point here should not be missed. It is not more donations that we want, but rather responsible parishioners who are concerned for the welfare of their parish, sensitive and attentive to its needs. And so we are only asking for one peso and fifty centavos every time a family gets a copy of Candle Light. Not a thousand, not a hundred but one peso and fifty centavos per family, per copy. With that we don’t have to rely on our big donors. We will have even a surplus of funds.