Bishop Keenan sends you his Easter blessings and encourages you to consider participating in the new Parish Income Drive.
Lots of people have continued to support their parishes during the Covid-19 lockdown, and lots more have been asking how they can more formally make an offering.
Bishop John has written a letter to the people of the diocese about the new Parish Income Drive, which includes a new Online Parish Offertory feature.
Read Bishop John’s letter below.
18th May 2020
Easter Blessings and Parish Income Drive during Covid-19.
First of all, could I wish you all the joys and blessings of the Risen Lord in this Easter time of great celebration. We are also full of joy to be in the lovely month of May when we honour our Blessed Mother with loving trust, and thank Her for Her endless care of us Her children in our homes, families and parishes.
The Scriptures at our daily Masses this season are from the Acts of the Apostles which tells us about our Church in its infancy. What struck me is how marvellously the Church grew, especially in hard times where communities were scattered -in those days by persecution- and had to think of new ways of living their faith in the Risen Lord as His beloved People. They continued to grow and spread even in pagan lands and all across the world because the Lord helped them. They knew their Good Shepherd was still taking care of them in the marvellous works they saw all around them. They knew Mary was with them as their Mother constantly praying for them to be delivered from danger and to prosper in graces and blessings.
We are in a similar situation today and we too are seeing the wonderful works of the Lord in the way our priests are ministering to us online while they continue to care for our sick, needy and dying and bury our dead in the hope of the Risen Lord. If anything, I am more confident than ever of a great renewal in the life of our Church and diocese in these almost biblical times.
I assure you of my daily prayers for you and your loved ones to be kept safe during this Covid-19 Pandemic, and for your livelihoods to be secure as we look forward, please God, to some eventual and easing of restrictions.
Our Bishops have asked Sir Harry Burns, Professor of Global Health at Strathclyde University and former Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, to Chair our Covid-19 Working Group to ensure any phased opening has the safety of our people and clergy as our top priority. They will examine the implications of opening our churches first for private prayer and for family funerals and we will take it from there.
Parish Income Drive during Covid-19
During this time of lockdown, as you know, we have been without our usual income from your weekly collections, which you so faithfully and generously give through the weeks and months of the year. A number of you have been in touch concerned about your parish finances and asking how you can make contributions to help your parish priests pay the bills that are still coming in. I want to let you know that this has been a big comfort and support to us.
As you can imagine, your own concern to help has been replicated by your fellow Catholics across the diocese. Our Diocesan Office has been working to set up some processes to assist you in making contributions where you can.
Obviously, lockdown and furlough measures have brought ongoing financial uncertainty to many of you. It means that some of you are not in a position to make your contributions in the same way as before. That is quite understandable and we hope and pray that more secure times soon return for you and your families.
That said, we thought that those of you who can and want to contribute would welcome your weekly Gift Aid Envelopes for 2020/21 to make your donations in the usual way. You can send them by post or deliver them to the parish house until your church re -opens.
We also thought others might want to make regular donations by Standing Order directly from your bank accounts, and you can do so with the enclosed form. Again, you can post it or deliver it to the parish house and they will pass it to your bank.
Through a brand-new facility we have introduced, you can now also make easy on-line donations to your parishes through our Online Parish Offertory portal which you can find on the Homepage of our Diocesan website (https://www.rcdop.org.uk/). This is an easy, swift and safe method of payment. It allows you to make one off or recurring donations, and if you are a taxpayer to Gift Aid your contributions making it worth 25% more at no extra cost. All your donations will be paid weekly to your parishes.
I want to thank you for all your support in so many ways during these unprecedented times in which you have shown just what your faith, your parish and your diocese mean to you. In the big, black cloud of Coronavirus this has been a precious silver lining.
To keep up to date with your parish and diocesan life and ministry online please visit your parish website above and the Diocesan website at http://www.rcdop.org.uk for regular updates.
With every blessing and my assurance of daily prayers,