Archbishop reminds priests need support, give a little more

Monday, December 24, 2018 - 11:30

Do you want to give your lo­cal Ro­man Catholic priest a Christ­mas bonus?

Then give gen­er­ous­ly to the Christ­mas col­lec­tion at the church, as the en­tire amount re­ceived goes to­ward the priests, Arch­bish­op Ja­son Gor­don has said.

The en­tire East­er and Christ­mas col­lec­tions go to­ward sup­port­ing the cler­gy, Gor­don said dur­ing an in­ter­view in this week’s pub­li­ca­tion of the Catholic News.

Since 2015, the av­er­age amount col­lect­ed from all the Ro­man Catholic church­es around the coun­try dur­ing Christ­mas has been $1.5 mil­lion.

This is half a mil­lion dol­lars less than what is usu­al­ly col­lect­ed dur­ing East­er, he said.

“This Christ­mas, with all the oth­er gifts that we give, please re­mem­ber your priests who serve you all year round,” Gor­don stat­ed.

“I know that many give to in­di­vid­ual priests. Con­sid­er­ing the ris­ing cost of car­ing for age­ing priests and ris­ing costs, in gen­er­al, please be gen­er­ous in your giv­ing to the Christ­mas and East­er col­lec­tions so we can con­tin­ue to be gen­er­ous to you.”

Gor­don asked peo­ple to dig deep­er to sup­port the priests fi­nan­cial­ly.

“The Church is like a fam­i­ly busi­ness. Your fam­i­ly is your fam­i­ly no mat­ter what. In sick­ness or in health we need to sup­port our priests. T

his Christ­mas I am ask­ing that we dig a lit­tle deep­er to give a gift, to sup­port our priests,” he stat­ed.

Gor­don said priests are there for the con­gre­ga­tion all year round.

“Are we per­fect? Oh no! We are as weak as any­one else. We fall short of our ideals and promis­es in so many ways. Yet, each day through our prayers we are re­mind­ed of God’s love and call Him, and we are re­newed.

We pick our­selves up so of­ten, recom­mit many times a day and we stick to our call and live it to the best of our abil­i­ty,” he said.

Gor­don said the col­lec­tions from all Mass­es on East­er and Christ­mas are com­bined with stipends for bap­tism, wed­dings, fu­ner­als and week­day col­lec­tions to form what is called the Cler­gy Pool.

“For the years 2015 to 2018, the to­tal av­er­age in­come is just un­der $5 mil­lion. The fig­ure has been sta­ble for this pe­ri­od, nei­ther go­ing up or down.

The high­est in­come comes from the East­er col­lec­tion, ap­prox­i­mate­ly $2 mil­lion, with the Christ­mas col­lec­tion, at ap­prox­i­mate­ly $1.5 mil­lion. Month­ly in­come from the Cler­gy Poll adds up to $1.5 mil­lion per year, on av­er­age,” he re­vealed.

“The sum of $5 mil­lion may seem like a lot of mon­ey.

But one must con­sid­er it up­keeps ap­prox­i­mate­ly 60 priests, ie, ap­prox­i­mate­ly $7,000 per priest per month, cov­er­ing all ex­pens­es —stipend and med­ical care, on­go­ing for­ma­tion, ed­u­ca­tion and study, re­tire­ment and old age sup­port.

The to­tal col­lec­tion has not changed in the last four years: the ex­pens­es, how­ev­er, have been ris­ing,” Gor­don not­ed.

Reporter: Joel Julien