A Note from our Pastor

A Note from our Pastor


My dear family of St. Matthew!

I recently received through email the letter I will quote below, and I want to share it with you!  Catholic Schools Week is around the corner, and what better way to use your tax dollars than to support our beautiful Catholic faith in our awesome St. Matthew Parish Catholic School!

First, a few numbers and statistics, with a big THANK YOU to those who donated and designated their Illinois tax dollars to our school in the tax year 2019, both those who are parishioners and the many others from outside our parish who donated out of the goodness of their hearts and who just absolutely love and support Catholic education!  So last year, as of December 6, 2019, the generosity of the good people of our Diocese of Joliet brought in a Total raised: $3,058,188, with Total scholarships awarded: 499, so with an Average scholarship: $6,129, and here’s the kicker:  Students remaining on a waitlist in Illinois for scholarship funding: 1,875 students!

More locally here at our St. Matthew’s home, the data looks (as of December 10, 2019) like this, based on our Kindergarten through 8th grade enrollment this year of 154 students (with Pre-School, enrollment then becomes a total of 175 students):

64 students applied for the Tax Credit Scholarship – 42% of enrollment, but only

10 students awarded with

$37,194 donated and designated to our St. Matthew Parish School, and a total of

$53,992 of scholarship funding (from donated and undesignated funds) — but still,

49 students remained on the 2019 waitlist for St. Matthew Parish School – 32% of enrollment!

Why is all of this so important?  Catholic education is a gift from God for our children and a marvelous benefit for our church and for our entire society!!!  Now, just as an example, let’s just say that all of the 192,000 registered Catholic households in our Diocese of Joliet gave an out-of-pocket gift of just $25 for the entire tax year 2020 to the scholarship granting organization (for example, for us, it’s Empower Illinois):  that net gift through the tax credit you receive becomes a total gift of $100 to your designated school, i.e., St. Matthew Parish School, for example!  And then, imagine the potential!  If every Catholic household in our Diocese gave that net gift of $25 (which becomes $100 through the tax credit), the support of Catholic Education in our Diocese for eligible students would be in the enormous amount of $19,200,000!!!   And that amount of scholarship funds would pretty much cover all the children approved for the waiting lists, in other words, it would enable our Diocese to FILL ALL SEATS in our Catholic schools!  Or again in other words, here at St. Matthew’s, as with most Catholic schools in our Diocese, there would be no need to hold, for example, those 49 students on a waiting list, waiting on the benefits, gifts, and many graces that come through a solid Catholic school education!

Obviously, 2019 is now past history – “for the history books” as they say – but we are just starting 2020!  So, with all the above as an introduction, here’s the email I received January 2, 2020:


2020 Tax Credits Available Now! It’s a New Year with new tax credits!


Thank you for being an education champion for Illinois’ kids.  In the second year of the Tax Credit Scholarship program—because of benefactors like you, who believed in the program and donated generously—we were able to help make the dream of a quality education a reality for over 5,800 K-12 students in Illinois!  But that’s not enough.

As we enter year three, Empower Illinois wants to ensure even more scholarships for Illinois’ kids, and we need your help. With less than two weeks until tens of thousands of students will apply for next year’s scholarship, it’s a great time to take advantage of a 2020 tax credit and have scholarship funds waiting for these kids.

Tax credits for 2020 can be reserved today by following these easy steps:

Log on to mytax.illinois.gov, and Click on “Individual” under “Account Type.”

Click on “Contribute to Invest in Kids” under the “I Want To” section on the right of the page.

Click the checkbox to certify you are taking a state tax credit, and click “Next.”

Complete the requested information, including selecting Empower Illinois as your Scholarship Granting Organization, and click “Submit.” (Wondering what region the school you wish to donate to is located? Check out our list of participating schools, i.e., St. Matthew is on the list!)

Check your inbox for an email from the Illinois Department of Revenue with a PDF of your tax credit.

Visit the Empower Illinois website, and select which donation method (online, check, stocks/bonds) works best for your finances. The Empower Illinois donation wizard will help you through the remaining steps.  If you would like help as you complete the outlined steps, give us (Empower Illinois) a call at (309) 644-4524 or email us at donors@empowerillinois.org.

Warm Regards and Happy New Year,

Kaitlin Donnelly, Managing Director of Development of Empower Illinois,

mailing address:  200 N LaSalle, Suite 2310, Chicago, Illinois 60601

Thanks for reading through this information and considering joining me in this wonderful opportunity to support our St. Matthew Parish School Catholic education!  Shalom and joy!


Shalom-peace and joy in the living, loving, caring and giving Hearts of Jesus and Mary,

Fr. Gregor