A number of Catholic parishes in Cork are to begin accepting electronic donations as part of new measures to help them to “offset” their Covid-19 losses.
It comes amid concerns that the closure of churches in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, and the resulting absence of church collections, will have had significant impacts on both parish and diocese finances.
As part of the new pilot, eight parishes in the Diocese of Cork and Ross will now provide a secure online donation facility on their websites and social media platforms so people can make a contribution to their parish.
The parishes selected to take part in the pilot are Bandon; Blackpool, The Glen and Ballyvolane; The Cathedral; Clonakilty; Douglas and Rochestown; Frankfield, Schull and Sts Peter and Paul’s Parish.
People within the eight parishes taking part in the pilot will now be invited to “support their local parish and provide an income for their priest” by contributing to the collections taken up at Mass; returning envelopes for clergy offerings or Station Dues or by setting up a Standing Order on their bank account.
A statement outlining details of the pilot scheme said: “Until the Covid-19 pandemic, parishes met their budgetary needs thanks to the generosity of successive generations of Catholics.
“People have made it possible for parishes to meet all their bills and priests have been supported also with offerings from the people.
“But a lot has changed since March of this year.
“The Covid-19 Pandemic led to the closure of churches throughout the Diocese of Cork and Ross for a considerable period of time. As a result, people were unable to contribute to the upkeep of their parish faith community through the weekly Offertory Collection.”
While precise figures about this impact are not yet available, a spokesperson from the Diocese of Cork and Ross said that it is estimated that the decline in church collections in the Diocese for the year to date is estimated at between 50 and 60 percent.
“We expect that the impact on collections for the support of the clergy and on collections for the central diocesan services will be on a par with the parish offertory collections,” the spokesperson said.
The diocesan funds are usually used to help the diocese to resource parishes in the areas including Mission and Ministry, Catholic Education, Safeguarding, Financial Management, GDPR compliance, and vetting services.