THE average parish income in the Cork and Ross Diocese has plummeted by over 50% during the pandemic.
That is according to the diocese, following a meeting of a cross-section of parish finance committee members and clergy with Bishop Fintan Gavin.
The average income is just 46.6% of the donations made to the parishes in 2019. Churches were closed for large parts of last year, and again this year, because of the pandemic.
Masses and services are now being attended by congregations again, since early May.
A statement from the Diocese of Cork and Ross said: “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% while more parishes are down 30%.
Four Cork parishes to share priests due to shortage of clergy https://t.co/EGXzk4TK9g— EchoLive.ie (@echolivecork) May 24, 2021
“There are 68 parishes in the Diocese of Cork and Ross.”
The statement said that despite the fall in income, expenses remained the same, including building maintenance, energy, and insurance.
Many parishes have set up donation facilities online to help combat the fall-off in church collections, the latest being Uibh Laoire.
The statement said: “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 is 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.”