Archbishop Hebda: Parish collections down 60 percent due to coronavirus pandemic

| April 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

In a letter to supporters of the Catholic Services Appeal Foundation, which helps fund core ministries including hospital chaplaincy, Latino ministry and Catholic education, Archbishop Bernard Hebda said parish collections are down 60 percent in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis due to disruptions caused by the new coronavirus.

“Offertory collections are down more than 60 percent across the archdiocese,” the archbishop said in an April 2 letter that encouraged continued giving to the CSAF, as well as support of a new fund designed to assist parishes and schools that have been hit particularly hard financially by the coronavirus pandemic.

The archbishop noted that CSAF, which is based in Plymouth, needs to raise the final $3.3 million of its annual goal of $9 million.

The new fund was established in late March as public Masses, suspended March 18 to curb the virus’ spread, remain suspended at least through April 19. It is called the Minnesota Catholic Relief Fund, and it is run by the St. Paul-based Catholic Community Foundation.

“If God has blessed you with the means to go beyond your ordinary support of your parish and the CSAF, I urge you to make a gift to the MCRF to ensure that the sacramental and ministerial life of our local Church can be sustained,” the archbishop said.

“Our pastors are scrambling to preserve payroll,” he said. “Principals are working around the clock to maintain enrollment. Lay ministers are creatively adapting ministries to ensure we’re fed spiritually. And many parish and school employees, who’ve dedicated their lives to serving the mission of the Church, now fear furloughs and loss of pay or benefits.”

“The MCRF and the CSAF each play an important role in ensuring the vitality of our local Church,” the archbishop said. “Please prayerfully consider making contributions to both during this challenging time.”

Jennifer Beaudry, executive director of the CSAF, said the foundation is grateful it can help draw attention to the MCRF fund. The CSAF is in the middle of its appeal, which ends Dec. 31.

“People have been very generous,” Beaudry said. “We’ve been getting online donations, which is great.”

The archbishop has set up a special, archdiocesan Economic Impact Task Force to monitor financial needs of parishes and schools and assist with the Minnesota Catholic Relief Fund. The task force meets three times a week and will continue to do so until the crisis abates, officials have said.

In a recent note on its website, CSAF said that in March it distributed more than $1.8 million to designated ministries, including a total of nearly $500,000 in parish rebates to 126 parishes. Donations continue to be processed, the foundation said, but needs are increasing.

“Together, we will prevail,” the CSAF said. “Let us join in prayer and supporting our neighbors in need as we are able.”

Donations to CSAF can be made at https://csafspm.org/givecsaf. Donations to MCRF can be made at ccf-mn.org/relief.

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