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Remember Easter collection to support priests

The annual collection for the clergy will be taken up at all Easter Triduum Masses and Services. Archbishop Jason Gordon has emphasised that the customary generosity from Catholic faithful will be greatly appreciated.

At Christmas and Easter, the whole collection from all parishes goes to the support of the clergy. For more than the monthly stipend of $2500, it is of critical importance that the collection be seen as providing for the whole support of the priest—from ordination to retirement.

All collections, from all Masses on these two days, are combined with stipends for baptism, weddings and funerals, and weekday collections to form what is called the Clergy Pool.

In his Conversations with Archbishop J column, December 23, 2018, the Archbishop stated that for the years 2015 to 2018, the total average income is just under $5M. The figure has been stable for this period, neither going up or down.

“The highest income comes from the Easter collection, approximately $2M, with the Christmas collection, at approximately $1.5M. Monthly income from Clergy Pool adds up to $1.5M per year, on average,” he said.

According to Archbishop Gordon, the sum of $5M may seem like a lot of money, but one must consider it upkeeps approximately 60 priests, i.e., approximately $7,000 per priest per month, covering all expenses— stipend and medical care, ongoing formation, education and study, retirement, and old age support. The total collection has not changed in the last four years: the expenses, however, have been rising.

He outlined the expenditure, in summary, for the same period: Payroll & Stipends—$3.5M; Medical Expenses—$.5M (in 2016, $1M); Health Insurance Premiums—$.5M; Education & Study—$.2M; Living & Other Expenses—$.3M (in 2016, $.5M). There are one-off expenses related to legal fees.

Archbishop Gordon shared that many years ago, steps were taken, a system of solidarity designed, to provide for all our priests. “Previously, if a priest was in a rich parish his stipend was different from one in a poor parish. The solution was to centralise the care for priests, so everyone got the same.”

He highlighted the Archdiocese has a group of diocesan priests set to retire, and the number will rise. “This means we have to provide for a retirement home for diocesan priests and find the way to care for them. These are our priests who have worked hard for many years in our Archdiocese. We need to care for them,” the Archbishop said.

He then appealed that during Easter and Christmas, “with all the other gifts that we give, please remember your priests who serve you all year round. I know that many give to individual priests. Considering the rising cost of caring for ageing priests and rising costs, in general, please be generous in your giving to the Christmas and Easter collections so we can continue to be generous to you.”

By Kaelanne Jordan