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What is God asking you to give?

Q: Archbishop J, why another collection?

The Ascension collection is old. It was instituted in the time of Archbishop Anthony Pantin CSSp as an annual collection to support the Church’s mission and ministries.

Over time, however, the collection somehow failed to be given the necessary prominence, which led to significant challenges for the Church’s operation. This year, we are highlighting it once more and asking you to be very generous.

In the years 2003 – 2009, the local Catholic Church had its first synod, which brought about changes in the way the Church organised itself. The synod asked for much more focus on various ministries.

Commissions were born, and these have functioned with full-time staff doing the work of the commissions in a consistent manner. In 2003, about seven persons worked full-time in archdiocesan ministries. Today, that number has risen to 40. Before that first synod, most ministries were staffed by part-time volunteers.

The synod reorganised the Church so it could be ready for ministry in the 21st century, ready to face the challenges of today. The necessary reorientation has helped to make the Church a living organism that responds to the needs of its people in ways it could not have done before. And it also responds to new needs, not envisioned back then.

With the synod came a new structure for catechetics, family life, Catholic education, liturgy, and youth. Social justice and evangelisation emerged. After the synod, Catholic Media Services Ltd (Camsel), a media house blending digital and traditional media, was born. Imagine Covid-19 without Camsel or all commissions working without its help, keeping people animated.


New wine, new wine skin

Synod dramatically increased the expenditure of the Church beyond anything imagined at that time. Between the synod and the present, we spent $38 million dollars. We know this number now because the Church has audited its 2019 figures.

That is a lot of money. Look at it this way. It is a shortfall of $1.9 million a year. Some of this was capital expenditure for the seminary, offices in Belmont, Independence Square, and commissions’ premises at Chaguanas. More than half of the $38 million sum was spent on the direct cost of structuring the commissions. In addition, we lost income from renting two buildings which usually brought in $400,000 per month.

The synod envisioned this increased expenditure and provided for it. Stewardship was the answer. The resolution passed in 2003 and updated in 2005 reads: “Be it resolved that the Stewardship programme be implemented in every Parish to achieve a better management of Time, Talent and Treasure in our Parishes” (15). This was implemented in part: some parishes moved to stewardship. We will discuss that after.

It should be noted that there was no direct mechanism for the Archdiocese to find the new funds necessary for the new structure that was called forth. An increase in income of the parish does bring an increase in the income of the Archdiocese.

If we were to pay for all the increased costs resulting from the synod, the parishes collectively would have had to increase income by $10 million per year for each of the last 20 years. That is not feasible. We need to find the way to fund the Archdiocese directly, to support the new structures for mission that have evolved.



With synod, stewardship received fresh impetus and was implemented in many parishes as teams were raised up to guide the process. Fr Michael Cockburn was its champion.

A review of 2022 parish returns shows 26 out of our 61 parishes receiving income through the stewardship initiative. Stewardship accounts for one-third of the overall income for those parishes.

Put another way, two dollars are put into collection for every dollar put into stewardship. This is important. Of the 26 parishes that register stewardship, 25 receive more in regular Sunday collections than in collections designated as stewardship.

One parish is different. I want to highlight it to show what is possible.

The Parish of the Incarnation, Maloney is a full stewardship parish. The architect, Fr Jason Boatswain implanted stewardship of time, talent, and treasure into the DNA of the parish.

Stewardship is not about money; it is about discipleship and helping people to engage in the mission and be responsible in their support of the Church (cf 1 Corinthians 16:2, and 2 Corinthians 9:5–8). The money follows the engagement and the mission.

Maloney brings in more money in stewardship than any other parish in the Archdiocese. Considering all the mitigating factors, that is an achievement in itself. But a second characteristic of Maloney is that its stewardship is nearly twice that of its Sunday collection.

Taken together, this is quite an achievement. The people have engaged their Church, and the Church has engaged its people.

Support of the Church is one of five precepts which every Catholic is asked to live. They are the minimal requirements of a practising Catholic:

  • Attend Mass on Sundays and days of obligation.
  • Confess your sins at least once a year.
  • Receive the Eucharist at least once a year.
  • Observe days of fasting and abstinence.
  • Provide for the needs of the Church.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “The fifth precept (‘You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church’) means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his (her) own ability” (CCC 2043).

This is not a tithe. It is sacrificial giving to support the work of the Church to ensure it does what is necessary in every age. Many times we give an offering in collection, which is not reflective of what we can give; it is what we have grown accustomed to give.

As a child, I would give $1 in collection which would buy a loaf of bread and a litre of UHT milk. How much does that cost today?

Each Catholic has a spiritual obligation to consider what he or she can give to support the Church. Ask God’s guidance in prayer. Then, give generously and experience God’s generosity.

When you have prayed about your support, if you believe you could give more, put it in an envelope marked Ascension Sunday Archdiocesan Collection and hand it into the parish at any Mass. You can also go online to and give your donation there.


Key Message:

We need your support for our annual collection on Ascension Sunday.

Action Step:

Pray about what you currently give the Church and ask God if it is sufficient. The ancient Jews gave about 20 per cent of their income to support their religion. Pentecostals give 10 per cent. What is God asking you to give? You can always give to the Archdiocese at

Scripture Reading:

2 Corinthians 9:5–8

Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash