Note: Please contact Sheila Wickenheiser at 800-562-9745 ext. 131 for questions/problems regarding receipt of the Diocesan Communicator. The Communicator is available on the Diocesan website at www.dioceseofmarquette.org.
Office of the Bishop
Teaching the Faith
Weekly Weekend Mass Attendance Counts
UP Health System Visitation, Marquette
Department of Evangelization & Education
Summer Faith Formation Opportunities
Fratelli Tutti Materials Available
Sacraments and RCIA Photos
Amendment to CARES Act – Expanded & Extended Employee Retention Credit (ERC)
Resumption of Payments for Parishes and Schools
Flexible Spending Accounts & COVID-19 Relief
Bookkeeper Guidance on MCC Lay Employee Retirement Plan Credit Eligibility
2021-2022 Benefit and Insurance Rate Information
St. Joseph Association (Good Shepherd Sunday) Collection
Annual Investment Pool Virtual Conference
Tamper Evident Bag Policy Changes
Diocesan Directory Changes
Department of Stewardship & Development
Legacy of Faith News & Deadlines
Planned Giving Sharable Links
Yoopers for Seminarians
Pilgrimages to Portugal, Spain and France
Pope Francis 'Fratelli Tutti Quotes
Addendum #1 – Employee Retention Credit (ERC)
Addendum #2 - Employee Retention Credit (ERC) – Frequently Asked Questions
Addendum #3 – Annual Update for Benefits 2021-22
Addendum #4 – St. Joseph Association (Good Shepherd Sunday) Collection Pastor Kit
Addendum #5 – Connover Packaging Instruction Sheet
Addendum #6 – Connover Packaging Printable Instruction Sheet
Addendum #7 - April Diocesan Communicator (old-style format)
IMPORTANT DATES & DEADLINES
4/24/2021 St. Joseph Association (Good Shepherd Sunday) Collection (Administration & Finance)
4/25/2021 St. Joseph Association (Good Shepherd Sunday) Collection (Administration & Finance)
6/12/2021 World Church Collection (Administration & Finance)
6/13/2021 World Church Collection (Administration & Finance)
6/29/2021 Annual Investment Pool Virtual Conference
OFFICE OF THE BISHOP
TEACHING THE FAITH
The Fellowship of Catholic Scholars has made available to clergy a website feature periodic newsletter, free of charge. Each monthly installment of Teaching the Faith makes use of the scriptural readings for a given Sunday in order to provide clergy with assistance in preparing homilies on doctrinal topics, difficult and perhaps controversial subjects of current importance, and themes in Catholic prayer and spirituality. The website may be found at: https://www.catholicscholars.org/TTFlist.php.
Bishop John F. Doerfler
WEEKLY WEEKEND MASS ATTENDANCE COUNTS
Please continue to input your weekly weekend Mass attendance counts (for all Vigil and Sunday Masses combined) each week. The weekly Mass Attendance counts will give us a baseline for our Mass attendance as we work together to increase Mass attendance through evangelization efforts discussed in Bishop John’s Pastoral Letter on Evangelization, entitled: “Transforming Fire: A New Pentecost to form Spirit-Filled Evangelizers”. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of the Bishop at (906)-227-9115. Weekly Weekend Mass Attendance Counts Form Link.
UP HEALTH SYSTEM VISITATION, MARQUETTE
The hospital in Marquette (UPHS) is again open for limited visitation, and Fr. Jeff Johnson is visiting patients daily during the week to provide regular pastoral care including distributing the Holy Eucharist and the Anointing of the Sick.
Due to federal regulations, his visitation is limited to only those patients who have made an explicit request from hospital staff or to him directly for a priest visit. Fr. Jeff may only visit those patients listed on a census provided to him. He does not have access to the general census and will not know someone is in the hospital unless they have explicitly requested a priest. A request must be made at each hospital admission or internal transfer while in the hospital (the database is no longer updated by the hospital). This means it is very important to remind people to ask hospital staff to call for a priest when they are hospitalized so that they do not fall through the cracks.
Fr. Johnson is also glad to take referrals from you or your parishioners, especially in emergencies. (However, certain privacy law restrictions may apply. Fr. Johnson can work through those with you if necessary).
In summary, please remind your parishioners of the importance of taking the initiative in making their request for visitation known. If you have questions, contact Fr. Johnson at 906-250-5079 or email@example.com.
DEPARTMENT OF EVANGELIZATION & EDUCATION
SUMMER FAITH FORMATION OPPORTUNITIES
Parishes across the diocese host summer faith formation opportunities for our youth. They will be published in the May 21 edition of the UP Catholic. If you would like to have your parish’s event be included please send the following information via email to: Denise Foye, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name of event
To ensure publication in the UP Catholic, provide the requested information no later than April 30th.
Date and location of event
FRATELLI TUTTI MATERIALS AVAILABLE
The encyclical of Pope Francis on fraternity and social friendship, “Fratelli tutti,” according to Bishop John Doerfler, “shines a light on the path forward for humanity to help heal the bitter divisions that we see around the world.” To help bring that light to our diocese, Bishop Doerfler has written a series of five columns appearing in The U.P. Catholic newspaper beginning in December and continuing through April 2021.
The diocesan communications department has developed a webpage on the diocesan website at www.dioceseofmarquette.org/fratellitutti featuring all five columns, along with links to the full encyclical and additional materials. For parish use, a series of quotes from the pope may be found in the Bulletin Announcements section of this Communicator.
SACRAMENTS AND RCIA PHOTOS
Sacraments will publish soon. Please send photos of First Communion, Confirmation and RCIA groups for publication in The U.P. Catholic’s annual Sacraments and RCIA issue by June 18, 2021. Be sure to list names (left to right) front row, second row, third row, back row, etc. Photos may be sent by e-mail to email@example.com or mailed to The U.P. Catholic, 1004 Harbor Hills Dr., Marquette, MI 49855.
AMENDMENT TO CARES ACT - EXPANDED & EXTENDED EMPLOYEE RETENTION CREDIT (ERC)
The enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021, signed into law by President Trump on December 27, 2020, amended the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. One of the major changes was the expansion and extension of the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). The ERC modification allows employers that received a PPP loan to retroactively claim the ERC for wages paid after March 12, 2020, but not for the wages used to obtain PPP loan forgiveness.
Up to this point, parishes/schools had the opportunity to take advantage of one of the Federal Programs for financial assistance, either a PPP loan or the ERC. These recent changes, in addition to the second round of PPP loans, have now opened multiple paths for financial assistance from the Federal Government. However, this opening brings with it much higher levels of complexity and potential scrutiny. In order to navigate the ever-changing landscape of Federal assistance, and to avoid the potential pitfalls borne of possible Federal audits, an organization must have access to professional resources that are experts in their field.
The current ERC changes require the skills of qualified tax experts. The Diocese of Marquette is not a professional tax organization and cannot assume that role on behalf of its parishes/schools. Paycor is a national payroll provider, but it also cannot provide professional tax advice to its clients. However, in recognizing the need for tax expertise, Paycor has partnered with HIREtech to provide such services. You can find out more about the Paycor/HIREtech partnership, as well as the basics of the ERC in Addendum #1. A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document is also available in Addendum #2, which includes details about how to take advantage of the partnership.
Given the complexities involved in these various programs, the skillset needed to successfully navigate the process, and the increased scrutiny that comes with receiving Federal funds, parishes/schools cannot afford to get this wrong. If your parish/school chooses to pursue the ERC refund, the Diocese strongly recommends that you take advantage of this partnership, in order to maximize your ERC refund and to avoid any missteps in working with the various government programs.
Should you have any questions about the Diocese’s position on this topic, please feel free to contact your Parish Support Services Coordinator. Specific questions about the program can be sent to Brian Locker (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Paycor or Casey Banks (email@example.com).
MEMO - RESUMPTION OF PAYMENTS FOR PARISHES AND SCHOOLS
In April 2020, Bishop John approved several measures to provide financial relief to parishes and schools caused by the closure of churches and schools due to the Covid-19 virus. This memo allowed for a six-month deferral of payments to the diocese for the following:
In October 2020, Bishop John extended the deferral of these payments indefinitely. Beginning April 1, 2021, all parishes and schools are to resume making the payments listed above. If a parish or school is not in a financial position to resume payments or has any other questions regarding the resumption of payments, please contact Tim Thomas at (906) 227-9114 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
- Needy parish/school loan payments
- Hymnal payments
- UPCSA parish payments
- UP Catholic parish subscriptions
- Service agreement payments
- Rent payments
FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS & COVID-19 RELIEF
New Covid-19 relief legislation allowed Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) to make changes to Flexible Spending Accounts–both health care and dependent care. The following changes will provide FSA participants more flexibility in using FSA contributions made in 2020 and on into the 2021 and 2022 plan years.
- Extended Carry-over Dollars
MCC is increasing the FSA carryover amount for the 2020 and 2021 plan years, with all FSA funds carrying over to the following plan year. Even if participants did not re-enroll in an MCC FSA for 2021, they could use the funds remaining in their FSA accounts from the prior year. Unused balances from 2020 or 2021 plan years will roll-over to the following plan year after the claims run-out period ending March 31.
- Post-Termination Spend-Down
FSA participants who terminate employment or those who are no longer eligible due to a change in status may be reimbursed from the unused balance for claims incurred post-termination through the end of the plan year. All qualifying reasons for the use of FSA funds continue.
- Dependent Care FSA Age Limit
MCC is temporarily increasing the age for qualifying dependents from 13 to 14. Participants who had a qualifying dependent who turned (or will turn) 13 during the 2020 or 2021 plan years may be able to use any unused funds from those plan years for qualifying expenses for that child until they turn 14. To qualify for this relief, enrollment in the DCFSA before January 31, 2020, is required.
- FSA Election Changes for 2021
For the 2021 plan year only, mid-year election changes are allowed for healthcare and dependent care FSAs. This allows enrollment, disenrollment, and changing of election amounts without the need for a life event. Elections cannot be reduced to below amount year-to-date contributed or claims paid.
If you have general FSA questions and record election changes, please contact MCC Benefits at email@example.com or by calling 800-395-5565. Please contact Health Equity for more information on FSA rules and changes at 866-346-5800.
BOOKKEEPER GUIDANCE ON MCC LAY EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT PLAN CREDIT ELIGIBILITY
Employees may be eligible to continue earning LERP Credited Service in 2020 and 2021. Please review the following administrative guidance from the Lay Employees’ Retirement Plan Pension Board to be sure you are updating your record accordingly.
Employees who have had their scheduled hours temporarily reduced to less than 20 hours per week will remain eligible for the Lay Employees’ Retirement Plan, provided their hours will return to 20 or more per week prior to the end of 2021.
Employees who have had their scheduled hours reduced below 20 hours per week permanently or beyond the end of 2020 will not be eligible for Lay Retirement. Please update Scheduled Hours on your payroll system. The effective date of hours reduction must be included.
- Lay-off/Furlough/Unpaid Leave of Absence
Employees normally eligible for Lay Retirement who have been temporarily laid-off (lay-off, furlough, or unpaid leave of absence) will remain eligible participants and continue to earn Credited Service. To be considered a temporary lay-off, there must be the intention to return the employee to work before by the end of 2021. If a decision is made in the future not to return an employee to active employment, their status should be “Terminated” effective the date of the decision not to bring them back to work.
Please be aware that the MCC benefit administration system interprets Leave or Lay-off as terminated. Bookkeepers should leave the employee in Active status on your payroll system if the employee continues to be eligible for Lay Retirement per the above.
If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact the MCC Benefits Team at 800-395-5565.
2021-22 BENEFIT AND INSURANCE RATE INFORMATION
An estimation of the 2021-22 Benefit and Insurance rate information can be found in Addendum #3. Michigan Catholic Conference will notify all parish and school units of final insurance rate information by the end of April 2021.
ST. JOSEPH ASSOCIATION (GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY) COLLECTION
Make plans now to promote the annual Good Shepherd Collection scheduled to be taken up the weekend of April 24th/25th in all parishes. Materials to promote the collection can be found in Addendum #4 and were emailed to all pastors, associate pastors, and pastoral coordinators on March 8th, 2021. Please see the Bulletin Announcements section for announcements which can be placed in upcoming parish bulletins to promote this collection.
ANNUAL INVESTMENT POOL VIRTUAL CONFERENCE
Please mark your calendars now to attend the Annual Investment Pool Virtual Conference. This year’s conference will be held on June 29, 2021 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. ET. Please use the following link to register for this event: https://form.jotform.com/70323169336151.
TAMPER EVIDENT COLLECTION BAG POLICY CHANGES
Bishop Doerfler will promulgate a new policy in 2021 requiring all parishes to use tamper-evident collection bags to improve security for weekly and special collections. Parishes can expect more information on this policy in the coming months. For those parishes who have not already instituted procedures using tamper-evident collection bags, please contact the Diocese now to receive a one-year supply for your church.
If you are already using these bags and need to order more, please see the new order form in Addendum #5. Connover Packaging also redesigned the closure on its bags in the past year to improve the quality of tamper-evident containers. Please see Addendum #6 for a printable instruction sheet for first-time users or new collection volunteers. For more information or to get your initial supply contact Irene at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DIOCESAN DIRECTORY CHANGES
There have been several changes in diocesan staff in the last year. Please refer to the Diocesan Directory for updated contact information. This can be found on the diocesan website under the Administration, Directories section.
DEPARTMENT OF STEWARDSHIP & DEVELOPMENT
LEGACY OF FAITH NEWS & DEADLINES
- Grant Evaluations. If you received an LOF grant in 2020, please submit your evaluations by June 30, 2021. Click here to complete your grant evaluation. If you were unable to use your grant, please contact Angelina for further instruction.
- Welcome Back Grants Available. To assist with parish efforts to welcome parishioners back to Mass, Bishop John is making 10 grants of $500 each available. Please click here to apply by April 30, 2021.
- Nominations Open for 2021 Catholic Service Award. Nominate a parishioner by May 1st. The award recognizes lifetime dedication and service to the Catholic Church and provides a $250 LOF grant for parish faith formation.
- New Grants for parish Faith Formation. Thanks to all who submitted applications by April 1st. Announcements will be made in May and payments in July.
- Catholic School Grant Report. Catholic Schools Grant Reports are due June 15, 2021. Click here to complete your report.
Click here to see the latest issue. Share in whole or in part on your own parish website, Facebook page, or emails to parishioners. Invite followers to subscribe here. We do not share subscriber emails outside of our organization.
April 29th at 4 PM ET VIA Zoom. “Communications Show & Tell” with guest communication experts John Fee (The U.P. Catholic Editor) and Sarah Williams (Communications Director for 2 parishes). The Development Roundtable is an informal networking, learning and fellowship group that meets 3x/year to share best practices, encourage fundraising grounded in prayer and gratitude, and support one another in our respective roles. All are welcome. Click here to be added to the list to receive email invitations.
PLANNED GIVING SHARABLE LINKS
YOOPERS FOR SEMINARIANS
Click here to read the Spring issue.
- Read the latest issue of Faithful Giving. In memory of Fr. Paul Nomellini, we re-share his joyful giving strategy. Share the link on your parish digital and social media platforms. Request this issue’s free brochure, Your Loved Ones Are Counting on You.
- Through times of boom & bust Catholics have rallied together to support the Church of the Upper Peninsula and the ministries that mark us as Catholics. Click here to watch a 2-minute video. Share it on your parish website, social and digital media platforms, along with this commitment form.
- Two ministries benefit from a $1.2 million bequest gift. Read the story here.
Please consider running the following announcement in future bulletins as space allows.
POPE FRANCIS 'FRATELLI TUTTI QUOTES
Note: We are NOT currently promoting our POLAND & IRELAND pilgrimages, so please refrain from running those announcements. Any questions, please let me know. Thank you!
– Deacon Steve Gretzinger / email@example.com
PILGRIMAGES TO PORTUGAL, SPAIN AND FRANCE
The Catholic Diocese of Marquette presents a PILGRIMAGE TO PORTUGAL, SPAIN AND FRANCE!
Join Most Reverend John F. Doerfler
and hosts Dcn. Steve & Jackie Gretzinger on an amazing Marian pilgrimage to Fatima, Aljustrel, Valinhos, Alba de Tormes, Avila, Cathedral of Burgos, Monastery of Santa María Real de las Huelgas, Lourdes, Grotto of Massabielle, Manresa, Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia, and more. Tentative travel dates: April 18 - 29, 2022.
For more information call Laura at (906) 228-6355 or visit: https://gateway.gocollette.com/link/1041357
- “Globalized society makes us neighbors, but it does not make us brothers and sisters.”
- “The road we must travel is that of closeness; it is the culture of encounter.”
- “Jesus asks us not to decide who is close enough to be our neighbor, but rather that we ourselves become neighbors to all.”
- “The true worth of the different countries of our world is measured by their ability to think as part of the larger human family. God always gives freely.”
- “Authentic social dialogue involves the ability to respect the other’s point of view and to admit that it may include legitimate convictions and concerns.”
- “I ask God “to prepare our hearts to encounter our brothers and sisters, so that we may overcome our differences rooted in political thinking, language, culture and religion.”