Pandemic gives Cork parishes a serious financial headache
The serious financial implications for parishes in the city and county of the Covid pandemic have been highlighted, with the two Catholic dioceses of Cork seeing a significant drop in their income in 2020.
With churches closed for most of the past year and the number of worshipers allowed in during the short periods when they were open strictly controlled, it was inevitable that this would have serious financial implications.
This was confirmed by the Dioceses of Cork and Ross and Cloyne, with the former claiming their income has fallen by over 50% and the latter claiming theirs was around half of the previous year’s total.
Father Jim Moore, spokesperson for the Diocese of Cloyne, which oversees nearly 50 parishes across the county, said his income was down 50% on average from 2019.
“Although we found that donations in some categories, such as humanitarian aid, remained stable, church collections have declined significantly. Obviously, 95% of that amount was owed to Covid and the closing of churches. It must also be recognized that many families have also been financially impacted by the Covid crisis, ”said Father Moore.
He said that if the diocese and individual parishes would be able to “take the hit” for a year, it would be very difficult to cope if there was not a reversal in their finances this year.
“For example, each parish will have their own capital projects that need funding and the drop in finances will no doubt impact their ability to undertake them. At best, they will be postponed,” said Father Moore.
“However, the church has always had a great connection with the communities it serves and while there is a long way to go before the financial deficit can be corrected, we hope the process can begin as the restrictions continue to ease, ”he added.
Meanwhile, the Diocese of Cork and Ross revealed that its average income in its 68 parishes from church collections was down 53.4% in 2020 compared to 2019.
A meeting between members of the parish finance committee with the clergy and Bishop Fintan Gavin learned that some parishes had seen their income drop by 60% over the past year,
In a statement, the diocese said that while it also recognizes that many household incomes have been affected by the pandemic, many parishioners continue to be generous in their supportive parishes.
However, he pointed out that despite the drop in income, parishes continued to bear costs such as building maintenance, energy bills and insurance, which still had to be paid while churches remained empty.
The statements indicate that in response to the financial crisis facing the diocese, many parishes have set up an online facility where people can donate to church collections for parish maintenance and for support the clergy.
“The use of the donation facility was initially slow, but its popularity is growing now.
Parishes have also distributed explanatory material to households which also includes a form that a household can use to set up a standing order for their parish, ”the statement read.