BRIDGEPORT—Bishop Frank J. Caggiano has declared the first Sunday in December will now serve as Accountability Sunday.
All parishes, schools and certain entities across the diocese will use a standardized accounting reporting model to issue their financial reports to the faithful. This year, “Accountability Sunday” will fall on Sunday, December 5, 2021.
In a letter to pastors, the bishop has asked every parish, school and certain other diocesan-related entities to publish their annual financial reports simultaneously.
“In short, the purpose of Accountability Sunday is to ensure financial transparency, to communicate to all parishioners and donors that good stewardship is being practiced, and to provide a standard report that is consistent and straightforward,” said Bishop Caggiano.
The bishop said this new method of reporting “comes after many months of preparation and is intended to ensure that the financial transparency already in place will be manifest in a new and more uniform presentation.”
“As we take this historic step, I wish to thank you for your continued support and generosity. Please be assured of my prayers for you and your families, especially as we begin this holy season of Advent,” the bishop said.
Michael Hanlon, CPA, chief financial officer of the diocese, said that in order to ensure uniformity and consistency in reporting, Cynthia Mahony within the diocesan Office of Fiscal Management has created a standardized template that will now be used by all parishes and schools throughout the diocese of Bridgeport.
“The diocese and its related entities will use the same template to issue their annual financial reports on the same day that the parishes and schools make their reports,” Hanlon said.
According to the diocesan Parish and School Finance Manuals that were both issued earlier this year, every parish and diocesan school is required to report annually the results of their financial activities for the fiscal year ending June 30.
The individual reports will be made accessible either via parish bulletin or parish websites, school websites and the diocesan websites.
Hanlon said that in devising the form, the bishop’s instructions were to keep it accessible so that the average person in the pew who may not have experience reading financial reports could understand the financial details. He added that the reports may show that without other revenue sources, including fundraising activities undertaken by parishes and schools, many would report operational deficits.
“The idea is very simple and direct—to have everyone report financial results in the same manner on the same day in the spirit of transparency, gratitude and respect for the generosity of donors,” Hanlon said. The Diocese of Bridgeport publishes its yearly budget and Consolidated Financial Statements in Fairfield County Catholic and on its website.
(To view the diocesan reports visit: www.bridgeportdiocese.org/finance-services)