The pastoral and financial report published in this week’s issue reveals the scope of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s finances as they looked from July 2007 to June of last year. In that fiscal year the Archdiocese expended more than $448 million on a wide variety of social and pastoral services. The three largest expense items reflected the Archdiocese’s commitments in the areas of education ($147 million), health care ($117 million) and social services ($115 million).

These three areas represent a commitment to all the people in southeastern Pennsylvania unmatched by any other non-government agency. Consider the other items detailed in the report, not to mention activities in 269 parishes, and the contribution of the Catholic Church in our area extends far beyond calculable numbers.

But the report is not a pat-oneself-on-the-back exercise. The other side of the ledger details the amount of revenues needed to maintain the Archdiocese’s extensive commitments. The largest item, fees for service ($156 million) refers to all those services provided by the Church for which people pay. They include catechetical training and marriage preparation programs, to name just two.

Government funding for services such as feeding the hungry and easing the burdens of the poor in our midst recognizes that outreach provided by the Church is often a more efficient way to address these social problems. Free-will contributions, bequests from inspaniduals’ estates and diocesan assessments from parishes also make up significant funding sources for the work of the Church.

But all these sources of revenue would fall short of the goal of matching expenses to revenues were it not for endowment and investment income. Like a family managing its own finances wisely, the Archdiocese maintains good stewardship by balancing its books. So when revenues fall short of expenses, the Church draws upon its savings. These are the gifts of past generations to ours. God has blessed the Church of Philadelphia for more than 200 years. The gifts of our parents and grandparents, and generations of people we’ve never met, combine with our efforts today to reach out in mercy and love to all people, not only Catholics.

The good works and prayers of the Church through the Archdiocese show our love of Jesus in word and action. They build the kingdom of God by serving all His children in the name of His son, Jesus Christ.