Knights of Columbus support parish offertory
COLORADO SPRINGS. The Knights of Columbus Assembly 88 wanted to make a donation to help with the COVID-19 crisis. In an April 22 Zoom meeting, Assembly 88, which represents 12 Colorado parishes, discussed many possible recipients, all of which were worthy charities.
But the Catholic concept of subsidiarity — the principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority — brought the conversation back to the urgent financial challenges of local pastors. When public health concerns suspended public Masses in March, parishes lost weekly offertory collections, and that has stressed budgets as never before.
“The weekly offertory is the mainstay of our operational funds,” said Father Brian Roeseler, pastor of Corpus Christi Parish and School in Colorado Springs. “It covers staff salaries, the light bill, maintenance costs, the dayto- day function of our facilities.”
Churches have promoted options such as online giving and mail-slot drop boxes. Some have even offered to drive to the houses of homebound parishioners when invited to collect contributions in person. Many are applying for government loan programs, furloughing staff or depending on the generosity of a few high-net-worth parishioners to weather the crisis. Still, dips in weekly collections of more than 50% are common.
In May, Assembly 88 is sending $100 donations to all 12 parishes in its purview.
“We don’t pretend that $100 will make a real dent in budget deficits,” said Dick Schubert, Faithful Navigator of Knights of Columbus Assembly 88. “But we hope this gesture will draw attention to the struggles faced by pastors suddenly forced to do more with less. These priests have taken care of their congregations for many years. This is a time for us to take care of them. We hope this gift of our few loaves and fishes will prompt other Catholics in a position to help to re-commit themselves to the financial support of their local parishes.”
(Paul Dusseault is a member of Knights of Columbus Council No. 7520 at Corpus Christi Parish.)