By Deacon Mike Monagle – Diocesan Business Manager
Our world has been turned upside down this past month as we adjust to changes imposed upon us in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have learned how to limit our travel, how to work from home, how to maintain social distancing, how to home school our children, and how to order our groceries and meals online and pick up those orders curbside. There is hardly any aspect of our daily lives that has not been impacted by this pandemic.
For us Catholic Christians, the most profound impact is our inability to gather together and receive the Eucharist at Mass. Our bishops, priests, deacons, and lay leaders have responded to meet this challenge by offering online masses, devotionals, and other resources to meet our spiritual needs. Every day I receive texts and emails providing me with innovative ideas and suggestions for keeping us connected to God and one another.
However, one area that we have not talked a lot about is stewardship. In this time of radical change, how can we continue our financial support when there is no weekly collection being taken up in our parishes? While we may not be showing up at our respective parishes each week, bills do keep making their weekly appearance. Parishes have to keep paying their priests and support staff. Insurance must be maintained and utilities have to be paid. So how can we help make sure our parishes continue to receive the financial support they need?
One of the most impactful things that each of us can do is to enroll in online giving. Each parish in the diocese maintains a parish website, and on each of those websites, there is (or will soon be) a button you can click on to subscribe to online giving. You can make a one-time donation or schedule weekly donations. Enrolling in online giving is the best method for providing for the material needs of your parish, but there is also the tried-and-true method of sending a weekly contribution by mail. Either way, your continued financial support is critical to ensure your parish’s ability to meet its needs and obligations.
Finally, in the coming weeks, most of us will be receiving a $1,200 financial stimulus check from the federal government, as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These funds will help provide financial relief to millions who have suffered economically from this pandemic. But not all of us require this monetary assistance. If this is true for you, please prayerfully consider using these funds to provide economic support to your parish or one of the many nonprofit and social service organizations in your community who are struggling to make ends meet.
One of the insights into the early Christian community is how they cared for one another. “All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need” (Acts 2:44-45). During these challenging times, let each of us show this same concern for our parishes, our communities, and one another.