How to support your parish during the pandemic

Lindsay Steele A woman prays in solitude at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport on March 23. Although public worship has been suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, parishes still rely on collections to support parish operations.

By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger

Pastors count on weekly parish offertory collections to support parish operations, even during this extraordinary moment in time when Mass and other public liturgies have ceased for the immediate future because of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

“We still need to support the parish and do our part. Some might be able to do more at this time and others not as much. We still need to be mindful of our gifts from God and return those gifts back to him,” said Michael Hoffman, director of development and stewardship for the Diocese of Davenport.

“We are reminded to pray, tithe and fast during this Lenten season. We are fasting, as we are not able to receive the Eucharist or attend Mass.”

Hoffman offers the following ideas for pastors to remind parishioners to make their weekly offertory to the parish. “Share the ideas in letters, bulletin inserts or on your website, Hoffman said. In that communication, pastors can:

• Update parishioners on parish plans.

• Ask parishioners to follow the parish on social media. • Provide contact information for emergencies.

• Pray for parishioners and ask for their prayers.

• Ask parishioners to inform the parish office of people affected by the coronavirus. • Thank parishioners for their generosity and faith.

• Ask parishioners to tithe online.

Mobile giving (by phone) has increased 205 percent in the last year and 59 percent of donors older than 66 have given online, Hoffman said. “Encourage more people to move to online giving,” he suggests to pastors. Various companies work with parishes to provide this capability. Hoffman can help parishes choose a company to provide this service.

With online giving, “a parish continues to have funds recurring each week to pay expenses, such as staff salaries, maintenance issues, utilities, etc. If parishioners understand parish needs, they will assist. Remind them that the ministries of the parish continue despite what is happening,” Hoffman said.

Parishioners who prefer to make their offertory collection with money or check can mail their envelope each week to the parish office or drop it off while running errands. A homebound parishioner’s neighbor or family member could offer to pick up the envelope to drop off at the parish office. Another option for parishioners to consider: “Continue to write your check or place your cash offering each week in your envelope and take it to church when Mass resumes.”

For more information and ideas, contact Hoffman at hoffman@davenportdiocese.org or call him at (563) 888-4252.

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