We Give of Our First Fruits
History of the Program
Since 2003, Saint Clement Parish has been deepening its understanding of being a stewardship parish. The practical spirituality of stewardship is based in the scriptures. Spiritually, this means that each person in the parish is encouraged to spend time understanding how all that they “have” is a gift from God and that each person is uniquely gifted. This leads to the next step of prayerfully deciding how those many gifts will be given back to God. This giving back is sacrificial because individually our time, talent, and treasure are limited resources. Practically, it means that as a parish we make a commitment to give of our “first fruits” to needs beyond our parish. We honor this commitment through Clement Commits, which donates 10% each fiscal year from our parish collections.
The Clement Commits program was originally designed to eliminate most second collections at Mass and to make a financial commitment as a parish to put our faith into action to serve those in need. The program began in 2003 at 7%, increasing each year until we reached our target of a full tithe of 10%. We proudly reached that goal in 2014.
The nature and scope of the Clement Commits program was unprecedented in the Chicago Archdiocese. As Saint Clement’s Mission Statement recites: “Grateful to God for our many blessings, we have a sacred responsibility to share our gifts, serve the common good, make a meaningful difference in people's lives and respond to the challenge to live the Gospel every day.” Clement Commits represents a tangible expression of our parish mission as we strive to give meaning to our parish anchors that directly tie to our practical spirituality of stewardship—“Pray.Serve.Give.”
How the Program Works
Clement Commits provides funding to outside organizations in two ways: (1) direct grants to organizations who apply to the program; and (2) contributions to second collections coordinated by the Archdiocese of Chicago. Of the 10% of total parish collections that makes up the Clement Commits funding:
- 70% is allocated in the form of direct grants
- 30% is allocated to Archdiocesan second collections
The Process (2021): Organizations seeking grant funding through Clement Commits submit a written application. The Clement Commits committee and the parish Director of Community Outreach review all applications and submit a list of proposed recipients to the Pastor and representatives of the Pastoral Council and Finance Council for approval. Organizations that received grant funding the previous year are also required to submit a report detailing the use and impact of those funds.
Selection Criteria (2021): Click here to view the Clement Commits Mission & Guidelines that are used in the grant allocation processs, or click the link in the Resources section of this page.
Archdiocesan Second Collections
Funds are currently allocated to initiatives supported by Archdiocesan second collections based upon parish giving to these collections prior to the start of the Clement Commits program in 2003. Thus, the percentages of Clement Commits funding to these initiatives are reflective of parishioner priorities at that time. (Donations made on special collection weeks, as designated by the Archdiocese, are not directed to those specific collections; rather, they are pooled together and then allocated to specific initiatives at the end of the fiscal year.) As over 15 years have passed since these percentages were set, Saint Clement plans to review the process for second collection allocations through Clement Commits and to systematically solicit parishioner feedback to update this aspect of the program.
The Clement Commits Committee
Role of the Committee
The role of the Clement Commits committee as a body is to act as a Christian steward in monitoring and distributing 10% of Saint Clement parishioner contributions in service of the poor and other important social needs outside of the parish. The committee, composed of 9 parishioners, a staff liaison, and the Pastor, is tasked with carefully reviewing all applications for direct grants and proposing funding recommendations for the Pastor's approval.
2020 Committee Members
- Tara Carone
- Kelly Foyle
- Katrina Ferreyra
- Darlene Kelly
- Tom McCarthy
- Colleen McHugh
- Rich Pasquesi
- Joe Quinn
- Allen Wesolowski
- Fr. Rex Pillai, Administrator
- Barbara Silva, Director of Community Outreach
Committee Member Selection Processs (2021)
Beginning in 2021, an updated process will be implemented for the recruitment and selection of new committee members:
- When a committee position is open, nominations will be accepted from existing committee members, parish staff, the Pastor, and parishioners. Parishioners are welcome to self-nominate.
- Nominations will be reviewed by the Pastor, the Pastoral Council, and the current Clement Commits committee.
- Members are expected to serve a three-year term, with a maximum of two terms.
For further details on the roles, responsibilities, and recruitment of Clement Commits committee members, please click here, or click the link in the Resources section of this page.
In our fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, Clement Commits donations totaled $195,000—allowing us to allocate $136,500 to community needs and $58,500 to Archdiocesan special collections. A total of 28 organizations throughout Chicago and beyond were supported:
- Aid for Women: $5,000 - Founded in 1978, Aid for Women empowers women to make choices consistent with the dignity of the human person and the family. Aid for Women operates five pregnancy care centers and two maternity homes. Clement Commits funding will be used to support the general operating budgets of Aid for Women's two residential programs, Heather's House and Monica's House.
- Chicago Volunteer Legal Services: $7,500 - With more than 50 years of experience, CVLS is the first and pre-eminent pro bono civil legal aid provider in Chicago. Clement Commits funding will be used to support CVLS' efforts to serve the undocumented immigrant population in the Chicago area, including providing for CVLS staff time and transportation for neighborhood clinics, interpreters, training manuals and materials for volunteer attorneys, and pertinent legal documents and information for clients. Funds will also be used to support the CVLS/Saint Clement legal clinic at Our Lady of Mercy Parish.
- CommunityHealth: $4,000 - CommunityHealth was founded in 1993 by Dr. Serafino Gerella, who saw a vital need for a place where Chicago's uninsured could access free, high-quality health care. Clement Commits funding will be used to support the general operation of CommunityHealth, which focusess on the following goals: increasing health equity by providing access to regular, preventative care and timely, life-saving interventions; improving patient health by providing preventative care that leads to timely/effective treatment, reduced medical costs, and helps patients stay healthy; and providing patients with customized care in a medical home they trust.
- Immaculate Conception Parish - El Salvador: $4,000 - Parroquia Inmaculada Concepción is a Catholic parish serving the 22 de abril community in El Salvador. It is the Sister Parish to Saint Clement. Clement Commits funding will be used to continue renovations on the Parish House and the Saint Óscar Arnulfo Romero Pastoral Center. Funding will also be used to provide emergency food and supply assistance to parishioners during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Immigration Ministry - Office of Human Dignity & Solidarity, Archdiocese of Chicago: $10,000 - In 2009, the Archdiocese created the Immigration Ministry to support a new vision that includes the immigrant-led ministry Pastoral Migratoria (PM). Their mission is to engage the Catholic Community in the mission of Jesus Christ to build communion between immigrants and the native-born, and to welcome and promote immigrants in their formation and integration as full members of society. Clement Commits funding will support three part-time Pastoral Migratoria (PM) pastoral companions on the North Side, Cicero/Berwyn, and Southside Chicago who will support the leadership formation, training, and justice, service, and accompaniment actions of lay leaders at the parish level.
- Jean Donovan Community - El Salvador: $8,000 - The Jean Donovan Association is a community organization serving the 22 de abril community in El Salvador. The organization supports the community through initiatives related to education, health, employment, and environmental concerns. Clement Commits funding will support the organization's School Under the Sky program, which offers free educational programming to children otherwise unable to attend school and who are at risk of recruitment into gang activity. The program rotates its teaching between the community's surrounding regions to reach as many children as posssible.
- La Coquille ("The Shell") - Benin: $2,470 - La Coquille is an NGO that was created in 2010 and is based in Ketou, Benin. The organization is managed by volunteer members with the goal of aiding children in need and creating a just and equal society. Children, typically those who have lost one or both parents, are selected to become "Chicks" and enrolled in La Coquille. They are assigned to a mentor, who is responsible for meeting regularly with the child to ensure they are performing well at school and are experiencing a healthy home-life. Clement Commits funding will be used to increase the number of students supported by the program and to provide compensation for teachers offering special civic education courses for the students.
- Lincoln Park Community Services: $9,000 - Lincoln Park Community Services (LPCS) brings communities together to empower individuals facing homelessness and poverty to secure stable housing and make sustainable life changes. Founded in 1985, LPCS is a comprehensive social service agency serving adult men and women who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Clement Commits funding will support operating costs of LPCS' Interim Housing Community (IHC), which has more than doubled in capacity in the last year.
- Little Sisters of the Poor: $4,000 - An international Roman Catholic religious community, the Little Sisters of the Poor have pledged their lives to serving and caring for the elderly poor. Founded in 1839 by St. Jeanne Jugan in Brittany, France, the Little Sisters have established homes in 31 countries throughout the world. Clement Commits funding will be used to help the Little Sisters of the Poor to continue providing a welcoming and caring home to their Residents, who receive nursing, medical, and social services here in Chicago.
- Madonna House (Catholic Charities): $10,000 - During the past year, Madonna House was transformed from a shelter for homeless families into an emergency shelter specifically for families escaping domestic violence situations. The shelter is run by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago and provides a range of social services to families in need. Clement Commits funding will be used for cooking supplies, yoga mats, art supplies, and potentially musical instrument rental. The adults and children served by Madonna House have experienced so much trauma, the special activities supported by this funding will provide much needed stress reducton and relaxation, as the family members begin their journey to recovery.
- Marillac St. Vincent Family Services: $7,500 - Each year, Marillac St. Vincent Family Services' commitment to the less fortunate positively impacts the lives of over 10,000 clients across all programs to fulfill their mission to strengthen, empower, and give voice to those in need -- in the Vincentian spirit of service -- through education and comprehensive programs to build vibrant communities in Chicago. MSV includes both St. Vincent de Paul Center and Marillac Social Center. Clement Commits funding will be used to support the Child Development Program and to support anti-violence efforts for at-risk children and teens in the Youth Services Program.
- Mercy Home for Boys and Girls: $2,500 - Mercy Home for Boys & Girls has served kids in crisis in Chicago since 1887. From the organization's beginning as a shelter for homeless boys, Mercy Home has developed into a holistic home that addresses not only the basic needs of the young men and women they serve, but also their therapeuric, behavioral, and academic needs. Clement Commits funding will be used to support the newly created Compassionate Care Task Force, which seeks to fairly, effectively, and efficiently distribute emergency resources to the individuals and families the organization serves in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Mission of Our Lady of the Angels: $7,500 - Established in 2005, the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels exists to establish a strong Catholic presence on the Westside of Chicago. The Mission brings hope, safe opportunities for community-building, material resources, and the light of Christ to those who are most in need. Clement Commits funding will be used to support the continued renovation of the former Our Lady of the Angels school buildings. The building is in the process of being transformed into a new outreach center for the poor and a new center for volunteer housing/retreats.
- The Night Ministry: $2,500 - The Night Ministry is a Chicago-based organization whose mission is to provide housing, health care, and human connection to any and all community members struggling with poverty or homelessness. With an open heart and an open mind, they accept people as they are and work to address their immediate physical, emotional, and social needs while affirming their sense of humanity. Clement Commits funding will be used to support the organization's Capital Campaign, specifically funding equipment improvements for The Crib Housing Program in the organization's new location in Bucktown.
- ONE Northside: $3,200 - ONE Northside is a mixed-income, multi-ethnic, intergenerational organization that unites diverse communities. The organization builds collective power to eliminate injustice through bold and innovative community organization. They accomplish this through developing grassroots leaders and acting together to effect change. As a member organization of ONE Northside, Saint Clement allocates Clement Commits funds as membership dues to the organzation. These funds support the ongoing initiatives of ONE Northside. *Note: Beginning in 2021, Saint Clement will no longer use Clement Commits funding to pay these membership dues. The parish will remain a member of ONE Northside but will pay membership dues using other funds.
- Our Lady of Mercy Parish: $27,330 - Our Lady of Mercy, Saint Clement's Sharing Parish, is a diverse parish with many ethnic groups that serves a large immigrant community. Clement Commits funding will be used to support OLM's Religious Education program, helping to cover tuition fees for families in need. This program serves over 600 children and young adults. Funds may also be used at the parish's discretion to provie material support to parishioner families as needed.
- Parroquia San José - Puerto Rico: $10,000 - Parroquia San José is a Catholic parish serving the community of Luquillo, Puerto Rico. Saint Clement was connected to Fr. Francis Okih Peter C.S.Sp, the Pastor of the parish, following Hurricane Maria in 2017. Clement Commits funding will be used to support the following parish purchases/improvements: (1) a tent to allow for outdoor parish meetings to occur more safely during the pandemic; (2) livestreaming technology and an air filtration system to create safer worship opportunities during the pandemic; (3) digital church bells to call together the community to prayer.
- Refugee Resettlement Program (Catholic Charities): $8,000 - For more than 40 years, Catholic Charities has helped refugees from around the world to call Chicago home. Each year, they resettle around 80 refugees who have been forced to flee their homelands due to war, terror, and persecution. Clement Commits funds will be used to provide emergency assistance to families in need. This includes things like financial assistance for rent, food, or other necessities that a family may have trouble affording due to job loss or other unexpected crises. The need for emergency assistance funds has been exacerbated due to increases in the cost of living in Chicago and to the pandemic.
- Su Casa Catholic Worker Community: $4,000 - Su Casa embraces the Catholic Worker tradition, and their mission is to care for each other by creating a community of hospitality and healing for families in crisis. Su Casa’s Hospitality Program provides a place of hospitality and healing for families. Basing their model on the Works of Mercy, their goal is that families will move toward independence during their time at Su Casa, which can last as long as a year, something unique in Chicago. They also operate a soup kitchen and participate in social action, attending events to work for peace and justice, and periodically sponsoring programs to educate the community on topics such as immigration, racism, nuclear threats, and human rights. Clement Commits funding will be used to support the salary of the organization's part-time Case Manager and to assist with needed building renovations.
Sub-Total: Direct Grants $136,500 (70%)
Archdiocesan Second Collections
(Percentages listed are percentages of total Clement Commits funding allocated to each special collection. These add up to 30%, the amount of total Clement Commits funding allocated to special collections as a whole.)
- Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe: $2,925 (1.5%)
- Catholic Campaign for Human Development: $10,725 (5.5%)
- Collection for the Church in Latin America: $4,875 (2.5%)
- Missionary Co-Op: $6,825 (3.5%)
- Peter’s Pence: $2,438 (1.25%)
- Priests’ Health and Retirement Fund: $9,750 (5%)
- Retirement for Religious: $9,750 (5%)
- Seminarian Education: $8,775 (4.5%)
- World Mission Sunday: $2.438 (1.25%)
Sub-Total: 2nd Collections $58,500 (30%)
TOTAL: Grants + Arch 2nd Collections $195,000
How Can I Donate to Clement Commits?
Each time you make a donation to Saint Clement Parish, you are donating to Clement Commits since 10% of all collections are distributed through our Clement Commits program. If you would like to make a separate donation to one of the Archdiocesan Special Collections, please click the link for that collection listed above.
If your organization would like to apply for Clement Commits funding for FY2021, please submit the 2021 Funding Request Form by April 30, 2021.
If your organization received funding in FY2020, you will also be required to submit the 2020 Recipient Report Form by April 30, 2021.
How Can I Learn More About Clement Commits?
Contact Barbara Silva, Director of Community Outreach