Members of Parish Finance Committees and priests across the diocese are attending online webinars about sustaining parish finances in the pandemic.
The webinars were convened by Bishop Fintan Gavin following a positive response to a fundraising initiative which was rolled out in eight parishes in recent months.
Bishop Fintan is emphasising that the challenge is not to ask for more money for parishes but to help parishioners contribute in new ways now that Mass is celebrated without a congregation in church.
Lay people and priests from the other 60 parishes in the diocese are attending the webinars which are held online. Two have been held this week and two more are scheduled for next week.
The webinars include presentations from Bishop Fintan, clergy and parishioners from Blackpool, Douglas and Frankfield/Grange parishes (who have piloted the programme), Declan O’Connell (Financial Administrator of the Diocese) and Rachael Foley of Easy Payments Plus (contracted by the diocese to provide an online payments system to the parishes).
The programme involves the distribution of an envelope of information to each home in each parish. Each parish will also set up an online donation facility on its website and will arrange to help people make an arrangement that suits them to continue to support their parish.
Parishes have indicated that, to date, the income received by parishes to pay their bills has halved since the beginning of the Covid19 pandemic. This is because government restrictions limited the number of people who could attend and under Level5 no one can attend regular Masses.
The parishes who have piloted the programme are