Parish assessments help to fund ministries in local Church

| May 21, 2013 | 0 Comments

While funds from the Catholic Services Appeal help to fund ministries in the archdiocese ranging from Catholic schools and Catholic Charities to seminarian education and youth programs, the CSA isn’t the only source of financial support for essential programs in the local Church.

Parish assessments also play an important role, said Tom Mertens, chief financial officer of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

“Not only the CSA, but the assessments are essential to deliver the services, programs and ministries the archdiocese provides,” he said. “They work hand in hand.”

In fiscal year 2012, support for the CSA totaled $9.3 million, with parish rebates, Catholic education, seminarian and clergy services, and Catholic Charities accounting for the largest percentage of distributed funds.

Income from assessments — prescribed in the Code of Canon Law as a means for diocesan bishops to collect funds from parishes to help pay for the ministries of the local Church — totaled about $14 million last fiscal year.

Assessment revenue supports the archdiocese’s central offices, including the wages and benefits of its approximately 150 employees, and the work of offices such as the Metropolitan Tribunal, Worship, Parish Services, and Communications, said Mertens.

Assessments also pay for infrastructure and technology needs as well as dues and assessments the archdiocese owes to others, such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The formula

Currently, parishes are assessed 8 percent on their collection plate and envelope income, and 8 percent on rental income and gifts.

Parishes are also assessed 8 percent on capital improvement income, while being given a credit for 75 percent of the expenditures after they are made for the improvements.

Parish school tuition and income is assessed at 8 percent, but parishes receive a credit for each parochial student, each student attending a consolidated school and each student enrolled in their faith formation program.

The assessment rates are increased by 1 percent if a parish elects to have The Catholic Spirit circulated by the archdiocese rather than being billed by the newspaper directly.

Mertens said he believes the current assessment rates are lower than most other U.S. dioceses and archdioceses.

Changes coming

The archdiocese announced a new formula last year that goes into effect beginning in the 2015-2016 fiscal year, based on parish financials from the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

The changes are intended to simplify the assessment formula, correct potential inequities and support Catholic schools, Mertens said.

The new assessment formula outlines the following:

  • Parishes with schools — which include those that support a consolidated or regional school by contributing at least 15 percent of plate and envelope collections — will be assessed 8 percent on their offertory collections as well as other income.
  • Parishes without schools — including those that don’t support a consolidated or regional school — will be assessed 9 percent on their offertory collections as well as other income.
  • All parishes will be assessed at a rate of 2 percent on monies raised for building projects and debt reduction.
  • Assessments on school tuition and income are eliminated, as is the additional 1 percent assessment for The Catholic Spirit.

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Category: Local News