Parish support option offered; Annual Diocesan Appeal launch is postponed
One by-product of suspended Masses is no offertory collection. To assist parishes with needed income during this historic period, the Diocese of Peoria has established an online giving opportunity called “Support Your Parish.”
Designed especially for parishes that do not currently offer online giving, the new effort enables donors to select their parish name from a drop-down menu. Donations will be processed by the diocesan Office of Finance and checks will be issued to the selected parishes.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has posed many challenges to the Diocese of Peoria and our parishes, including offertory funds lost due to the suspension of public liturgies,” says a message at the donation site. “Parishes rely on the generosity of their members to cover expenses related to ministry, maintenance, staffing, community outreach programs and other pressing needs.
“Please consider making a one-time or recurring gift to your parish and support the vital ministries and services it provides.”
A sample letter for presenting the option was mailed to all parishes. It can be modified to meet a parish’s specific needs.
ANNUAL DIOCESAN APPEAL
Meanwhile, the diocese has postponed the official kickoff for the Annual Diocesan Appeal, slated for March 28-29, until parishes are able to gather once again for public worship.
In announcing the postponement of the ADA, diocesan officials offered pastors an option to launch the appeal virtually by pointing parishioners toward its website, cdop.org/ada2020. The site includes the promotional videos and the opportunity to donate online. The pastors were reminded that doing so at this time is not mandatory.
The theme of the 2020 Annual Diocesan Appeal is “Know, Love, Serve.” Designed to support diocesan ministries ranging from vocations to Catholic education to Catholic Charities — as well as benefit parishes — this year’s appeal has a goal of $6,745,000.
NATIONAL COLLECTIONS AFFECTED
Another factor is national collections. The Catholic Relief Services collection, for example, was slated for the weekend of March 21-22. It not only supports the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and development agency, it also provides funding for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Offices of International Justice and Peace, Migration and Refugee Services, and Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees.
Also due up are the Pontifical Collection for the Holy Land, traditionally done on Good Friday, and the Catholic Home Missions Appeal, scheduled for the weekend of April 25-26.
“We’ve seen in other economic downturns, (U.S. Catholics) have given immediately to help out,” said Patrick Markey, executive director of the Diocesan Fiscal Management Conference, based in Phoenix. “But if they’re not in a church to hear that appeal, they’re not going to think about it. It’s going to have a big impact.
“I just would urge people to remember the church,” continued Markey. “Send a check to the parish, just as you would if you were in church. All those parishes rely on those donations to operate.”
He added that some U.S. Catholics “may not be receiving their own paycheck” as government-ordered closures have thrown many people out of work. It may become a situation that parishes and dioceses also face.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Portions of this story were supplied by Catholic News Service accounts.