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