Friday, June 3, 2011

One way or another

Bishop Matthew Clark’s Catholic Ministries Appeal 'fell short' about $350,000 this year. However, the targeted amount of $5.6 million will be raised.

The deficit will be made up by the parishes that failed to gather their stated goal amounts. All Saints’ deficit was about $15,000 short of the DOR’s ‘goal’ for our parish, which will now be collected through either our savings or regular parish donations.

Wouldn’t it be better if the DOR characterized the appeal for what it really is – a tax? It can’t truly be called an ‘appeal’ when it will come out of parishioners’ pockets one way or another. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines the usage of the word appeal as ‘an organized request for donations’ or ‘an earnest plea’.

While the DOR may begin each CMA with an earnest plea, an organized plea, it finishes through compulsory compliance. In other words, a tax has been assessed. Let us call it what it is.

Now, it is no secret that the DOR has been suffering a dearth of vocations for some time. Out of 176 dioceses in the USA, the DOR places 175 on the list for vocations. Having suffered this decline for some time, it would seem efficacious to turn attention to this most important of Catholic issues and expend time, effort and money to turn this situation around.

Yet the DOR’s annual budget of $9.975 million spent just under $435,000 to support “Priest personnel, Sabbaticals, & St. Bernard’s School of Theology & Ministry.”

That is 4.3% of the budget.

To then be told via the parish bulletin that there are no ‘additional priests available’ to our parish of 2,500 families, and that funeral masses may be unavailable for our community, gives the impression that vocations is not a priority. Truly a tragedy for our people and parishes. The priesthood is not only a sacred need, it is a basic need for parishes.


  1. God bless you Gretchen for calling it like it is. It takes guts. You got plenty. Thank you.

  2. Stop it already!

    But I will take the blessing any time. Thank you. :-)

  3. In the Diocese of Pittsburgh, they have the same type of appeal. It is called "Parish Share." I have always referred to it as "church taxes" and thought it ironic that even there, if you met your goal one year, your parish usually was accessed a bit more the next year. While I understand the need of such an appeal/tax to support the administrative offices of the diocese, perhaps the Diocesan Admin Offices need to overhaul their budget -- just like we have to do to our own. Tighten the belt and sacrifice a bit. One of my mothers favorite sayings was "Offer it up."

    Amen to that...offer it up.

  4. These guys at the diocese live pretty well; not sure they would understand exactly how to 'offer it up'. We the people are the ones that do.

  5. I was under the impression that before any of the "appeals" of the modern era, any diocese took a percentage of the weekly "take" in order to run the diocese. I lean towards the appeal, if you have more, give more; however, some would question that. Makes me think of the movie "Doubt." A scene showing the priests eating wonderful beef (prime beef?) and it jumps to the nuns eating grizzle; even one being admonished, visualy, for removing it from her mouth! We will always have this situation; however...
    Remember: Pray, Pay and Obey!

  6. I don't think you have to "pay" if you think the money is being misused.

    7Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

  7. What troubles me isn't the money needed to "run" the diocese. The problem to me is that the money is used for various programs that the diocese deems more important than the very survival of its parishes. When parishes are doing fundraisers just to pay off their CMA tax, something is wrong. When parishes can't keep their properties in good condition and do repairs in a timely manner, diocesan priorities are mixed up. Check out the allocations here:

  8. I have a question about envelopes sent to parish members. I received mine last week and one envelope that is to be used in collection July 12th says "emerging churches", can someone clarify what this means? Thanks