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.
2021 Committee Members
- Sarah Beltz
- Tara Carone
- Katrina Ferreyra
- Tom McCarthy
- Colleen McHugh
- Rich Pasquesi
- Joe Quinn
- Allen Wesolowski
- Fr. Peter Wojcik, Pastor
- 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.
In our fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, Clement Commits donations totaled $204,500—allowing us to allocate $143,150 to community needs and $61,350 to Archdiocesan special collections. A total of 25 organizations throughout Chicago and beyond were supported:
- Catholic Charities Refugee Services: $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 support the general operating funds of the program, which are used to provide basic needs, like housing, for refugee families. Funds will also be used to provide emergency assistance for families. 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.
- 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 operations 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.
- Divine Mercy Centre - Tanzania: $5,000 - The Divine Mercy Centre will be a free home for the elderly poor of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania run by the Sisters For Christian Community (SFCC). The center will provide high-quality medical care and emotional support for residents. Without social services dedicated to the elderly, like social security or medicare programs, the elderly poor in Tanzania face great hardships when they are unable to earn their own income. The majority of Clement Commits funding will help to secure the plot of land on which the center will be built. The rest will support the organization's ongoing feeding program, providing rice, beans, sugar, oil, and other food items to elderly poor in the community.
- House of the Good Shepherd/Madonna House (Catholic Charities): $10,000 - The mission of the House of the Good Shepherd/Madonna House is to serve with love and compassion any women and children affected by domestic violence by offering a safe place with opportunities for emotional, educational, and spiritual growth, giving hope and continued support for a better future. Clement Commits funding will support the general operations of the HGS/Madonna House campus, including provding safe housing for women and children impacted by domestic violence, providing ESL, financial literacy, and other courses as well as activities like cooking and yoga, and ensuring mentorship and material resources for all families in the program.
- Immaculate Conception Parish (Parroquia Inmaculada Concepción) - El Salvador: $3,000 - 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 support the parish's new Seeds of Hope microfinancing program, helping families who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic earn an income while developing their skills in crafts, food sales, or other economic activities.
- 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 the salary of the Senior Local Coordinator of Immigration, who has overall responsibility for Pastoral Migratoria including the development, implementation, and coordination of immigrant leadership formation, service, justice, and accompaniment actions in local parishes.
- Iskali: $5,000 - Iskali is a Catholic organization that empowers and equips young Latinos from immigrant families in the Chicago area, helping them become transformative leaders. Recognizing the many challenges young Latinos face and the lack of resources specifically for this demographic, Iskali was founded to help bridge the gap in ministries and resources for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation immigrants through retreats, small group communities, a mentorship program, a scholarship fund, and other formative resources and leadership training opportunities. Clement Commits funding will be used to support the salary of Iskali's Outreach Coordinator. This staff member will begin to establish ministry programs on Chicago's community college campuses, filling a Catholic ministry gap for Latino students at these institutions.
- Jean Donovan Association (Asociacion Jean Donovan) - El Salvador: $9,700 - 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. Funding will also support the upkeep of the association's vehicle, needed to reach families in need, and other social projects, including a medical clinic, pharmacy, and farm.
- La Coquille ("The Shell") - Benin: $2,400 - 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 in school and are experiencing a healthy home-life. Clement Commits funding will be used to support students in the program, including by providing school supplies as well as masks and hand sanitizer to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
- 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 the general operating expenses of LPCS. The organization recently expanded services, including operating two facilities, expanding drop-in services onsite, and providing an ongoing and effective response to Covid-19.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 building. 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. Funding will also help to maintain the Mission's food pantry and outreach, expanded to meet the additional needs brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
- 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 general operating expenses, helping to bring vital services directly to those in the Chicago community who are experiencing homelessness or poverty.
- Our Lady of Mercy Parish: $40,250 - 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 the cost of staffing and other transitions associated with the Archdiocese of Chicago's Renew My Church program. Funding will allow our Sharing Parish to continue pastoral ministry, community-building, and other programming during this time of parish transition.
- Singarapalli Parish - India: $7,800 - Singarapalli parish, located in the Nelloru Diocese in the Prakasham District of India, consists of nine parish substations located in rural, remote areas. These parish substations largely serve poor communities of day laborers and farmers whose lives have been severely impacted by the pandemic. As India continues to fight a new wave of Covid-19, Clement Commits funding will be used to provide basic ammenities, including food, water, masks, and hand sanitizer, as well as to promote health awareness and safety practices, to 1000 families (8000 people) in the parish communities who otherwise have limited or no access to these resources.
*Note: If no location is listed, the organization serves the local Chicago community.
Sub-Total: Direct Grants $143,150 (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.)
- Catholic Campaign for Human Development: $11,248 (5.5%)
- Collection for the Church in Latin America: $5,113 (2.5%)
- Missionary Co-Op: $7,158 (3.5%)
- Peter’s Pence: $5,624 (2.75%)
- Priests’ Health and Retirement Fund: $10,225 (5%)
- Retirement for Religious: $10,225 (5%)
- Seminarian Education: $9,203 (4.5%)
- World Mission Sunday: $2,556 (1.25%)
Sub-Total: 2nd Collections $61,350 (30%)
TOTAL: Grants + Arch 2nd Collections $204,500
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.
Application materials for the FY2022 Clement Commits program will be made available in early 2022.
How Can I Learn More About Clement Commits?
Contact Trina Heffley, Parish Stewardship Coordinator