Covid-19 toll on parish funds becomes evident in accounts

Giving to parish collections during 2020 shows a dramatic decline in parish funds as a result of Covid-19.

At a meeting of a cross-section of parish finance committee members and clergy with Bishop Fintan Gavin, it emerged that the average parish income in 2020 was just 46.6 percent of the donations received in 2019.

All churches were closed to public worship for a significant part of the year and when restrictions were eased reduced congregations were permitted.

Parish finance committees and priests acknowledge that In spite of restricted access and lockdowns people continue to be generous in the support of their parishes. Many household incomes have also been affected by the pandemic.

This has resulted in some parishes experiencing a fall in donations of up to 60 percent while more parishes are down 30 percent. There are 68 parishes in the Diocese of Cork and Ross.

Parishes also reported that expenses were largely unchanged for 2020 when compared with 2019. This because the highest costs include building maintenance, energy and insurance – all of which had to be paid even when the congregations were absent.

Meanwhile Uibh Laoire Parish, which includes Inchigeela and Béal Átha an Ghaorthaigh, has become the latest parish to set up a donation facility online. The Donate button is at http://corkandross.org/parishes/uibh-laoire/

Almost all parishes in the diocese now have an online donation facility which parishioners can use to contribute to the church collections for the maintenance of the parishes as well as for the support of the clergy. Use of the donate facility was initially slow but it now growing in popularity.

Parishes have also distributed explanatory literature to households which also includes a form which a household can use to set up a standing order for their parish.