COLLECTIONS

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
–2 Corinthians 9:7

Each weekend at Mass two collections take place in our parish, one immediately after the Prayers of the Faithful (First Collection – Sunday Offertory), the other after Communion (Second Collection).

***NOTE – IN LIGHT OF THE PANDEMIC –
ALL OFFERINGS (SUNDAY AND SECOND) SHOULD BE PLACED IN THE GRAY LOCKED BOX THAT IS LOCATED IN THE BACK OF THE CHURCH***

The parishioners of OLHC have always been generous and enthusiastic about our parish.  Thank you for all that you give to our parish.  Your sacrificial giving makes it possible for us to maintain our parish facilities, providing your Church
with the resources it needs to carry out the work of Jesus Christ here on earth.

The First Collection, your Sunday Offertory, is used for the day-to-day operation of the parish including staff employment, insurances, bills, etc.. Approximately 90 cents of every dollar of your Sunday Offering is taxed by the Diocese as a means of providing operating funds for the central offices and ministries of the bishop as well as your pastor’s health insurance, stipend, as well as land taxes and Catholic educations.

The Second Collection provides the income for all the running expenses of the parish – maintenance, maintaining and operating the Rectory, liturgical supplies, water, waste collection, and parish ministries and services as well as debt reduction.

Please note – we know that how our parishioners choose to contribute is their decision to make, and the reasons for their choices are no one’s business but their own. We just want to stress that there is always a purpose of a second collection.

FIRST COLLECTION – SUNDAY OFFERTORY
Did you know Catholics contribute less money to their parish than the members of nearly any other church in the United States? Catholics give on an average about $10 a week to their parish, said Mary Gautier, senior research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, a Georgetown University-affiliated research center. And this is in a time when just keeping the lights on, the boiler heated up, the roof from leaking, the organ in tune, the parking lot free of potholes and now the added costs of disinfectant materials, costs more than ever.

Explanations for low Catholic giving have ranged from their negative reaction to parish decision-making processes to the failure of the church to instill a sense of stewardship in the faithful. At OLHC, we hope we can express to you how important collections are. During this recent pandemic, when Churches were closed, your weekly collections sustained us and kept us going. Each week it varied, sometimes a really low week, sometimes a nice high week (usually the beginning of the month). Thank you so much for continuing to remember us!

Your weekly offertory keeps the lights and heat on at OLHC, pays our utilities, our water/sewer and phone service, helps pay for our cleaning service, equipment and supplies needed for the office, state and local taxes, maintains your church and other parish buildings (Rectory, School, Convent), weekly groundwork, gas for our lawn mower, provides fair wages to parish staff, helps provide Catholic education through our parish faith formation program and supports our music ministry. Your pastor is living out his priestly vocation to preach the Gospel, minister the sacraments, and bring people to Christ. Your support allows us to share the Gospel message and the joy of knowing Jesus Christ in the East Allentown area.

Remember, all collections are 100% tax deductible! We keep careful records of all your collections and donations.

OUR FINANCIAL REPORT FOR 2018-2019
There is a serious obligation for a pastor to report each year on how the offerings or tithings of parishioners and other donors have been used. The Code of Canon Law urges pastors and other administrators of the Church’s goods to be “good householders,” and lists some resulting obligations (see Canon 1284). Among these is the responsibility to “draw up a report of the administration at the end of each year.” Transparency in financial administration and accountability to donors are important values in the administration of Church goods. We want to assure you that your offerings are 100% used for the Church or diocese.  Our fiscal year started July 1, 2018 and ended June 30, 2019. Our financial report was mailed out in March 2020 to all our registered parishioners.

SECOND COLLECTIONS
Now, what what about those pesky second collections that many Catholics find to be so annoying and that cause some to complain about being “nickeled and dimed” to death? The thought process by many is that the parish will get more donations if they do a second collection. Of special interest is the relationship between regular parish giving and contributions to the second collections – 100% of Second Collections (excluding Diocese and National collections) go to your parish. We want you to know we depend on these second collections and want you to know how we use them. We will explain most of these second collections below:

January 3, 2021 – Envelope Cost Offering
100% of this collection goes to the Parish. Did you know it costs about $7.50 to mail out your envelopes? For six times a year, that is about $45 a year. This once-a-year collection is just to ask for your help in offsetting that cost.

First of the Month – Parish Debt Reduction (Pink Envelope)
100% of this collection goes to the Parish. Contributions to this collection will help us meet our obligations from the past. Over the past few years there has been greater expense then income, mainly due to the declining enrollment and eventual closure of our school, which drained a lot of our financial resources to keep it running.  Because of the cost of running and maintaining these buildings, as well as paying teacher and staff salaries and benefits and other ministry expenses, coupled with a decrease in parishioners, offertory and fundraising income, the parish has been in deficit spending for the last several years, and this has added up.

Second (or Third) Month – Building Fund (Yellow Envelope)
100% of this collection goes to the Parish. This fund assists in defraying the costs of maintaining the Parish buildings and grounds, pays for the many light bulbs that are located in the Church and parish buildings, etc. Recent examples include the cost of paint and rugs and dehumidifiers for the former Pre-K, to convert the space into facilities that will be used by Youth Group, Choir, etc. We also changed the locks on our entrance doors to be easier to use for our volunteers and staff, and added weather stripping to the doors where there wasn’t any. This is a vital fund and if you must choose a second collection, please choose this one. Thank you in advance for your generosity and for praying for the success of our parish’s maintenance efforts.

Third (or Fourth) Month – Utility Fund  (Blue Envelope)
100% of this collection goes to the Parish. Did you know our electric/heating bill for the Convent alone is $1,000 a month in the winter? In addition, the heating and air conditioning units for our facilities are all very old and are need of repair or replacement. We recently spent over $14,000 to repair the air conditioning unit at the Church as it started to fail.

March 28, 2021 and November 29, 2020 – Liturgical Supplies
100% of this collection goes to the Parish. This includes altar bread and sacramental wine as well as linens, candles, incense, charcoal, registry, Mass books as well as COVID cleaning and sanitizing supplies.

Maintenance Fund
100% of this collection goes to the Parish. Our Maintenance Fund Collection is set aside specifically to handle the upkeep and well-being of our physical buildings and grounds, as well as prepares us for emergency repairs to keep our wood and stones that comprise our buildings healthy. For instance, money with these funds puts gas in our lawn mowers and hedgers to maintain our grounds, materials to keep our wood from rotting, paint for our doors, etc..

September 19, 2021 – St. Vincent de Paul
100% of this collection goes to the Parish. Occurs once a year. With the money from the collection we are able to provide emergency aid and referrals to other appropriate agencies, to people within our parish boundaries who ask for help and demonstrate need, including providing them with one of our grocery cards. If someone comes to our door we never turn them away empty-handed.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day
100% of this collection goes to your parish priest. These envelopes are blessed by Fr. Rich and placed on the altar throughout the month.

NATIONAL (DIOCESE) COLLECTIONS
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) created the national collections so that, by combining resources, the Universal Church  can more effectively carry out its mission as Catholics. Each of these important collections is worthy of every Catholic’s support. Each collection represents the Catholic community of faith at work in the world, saving souls and improving lives.

January 31, 2021 – Catholic Relief Services
This collection supports six Catholic agencies that touch more than 100 million lives around the world. The funds from the collection help provide food to the hungry, welcome and support to displaced refugees, and invaluable life skills to those seeking a better life.

February 21, 2021 – Catholic Missions Among Black & Indian People
This collection helps local African American, Native American and Alaska Native Diocesan communities throughout the United States spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.

March 28, 2021 – CRS Rice Bowl
Rice Bowl is Catholic Relief Services’ Lenten faith-in-action program for families and faith communities, beginning on Ash Wednesday and concluding on Easter Sunday. CRS Rice Bowl contributions support projects that assist the poor both overseas and here in the United States.

April 2, 2021 – Holy Land (Good Friday)
Funds from this collection will support Holy Places, but above all it will help those pastoral, charitable, educational and social works which the Church supports in the Holy Land for the welfare of their Christian brethren and of the local communities.

July 18, 2021 – Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe

This collection supports Catholic organizations that provide affordable shelter and training for seminarians in a region that still struggles with the effects of Soviet rule. By providing pastoral care and funding for building renovations, your donations help restore the Church and build the future in the region.

August 29, 2021 – Missionary CO-OP
Usually this time of year our Church receives visits from Missionaries, informing them of their MIssion. This year, in light of COVID-19 restrictions, the Bishop has decided each Parish should take up a collection for this summer’s Mission CO-OP program. OLHC’s Mission Group that our Parish is supporting this year are the      Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers,  a US Catholic society of priests and brothers dedicated to missionary work overseas in 22 countries.

October 4, 2020 – Peter Pence Collection (new date, formerly June 21st)
Pope Francis calls each of us to witness to charity and to show God’s mercy to one another. The purpose of the Peter’s Pence Collection is to provide the Holy Father with the financial means to respond to those who are suffering as a result of war, oppression, natural disaster, and disease.

October 24, 2021 – World Mission Sunday
This collection on the next-to-last Sunday in October is a unique, global effort for the entire Church to provide for the building up of over one thousand local churches in Asia and Africa, the Pacific Islands, and parts of Latin America and Europe. Through the work of these churches, and their witness to Christ, the poor receive practical help and experience God’s love and mercy, His hope and peace.

November 15, 2020 – Poverty Relief Fund (Diocese of Allentown)
Diocesan Poverty Relief grants, which are funded by a special annual second collection (third weekend in November), support a wide range of local projects and services that alleviate and address poverty in Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton and Schuylkill counties. “During 2019, contributions to the Poverty Relief Fund collection made it possible to distribute nearly $120,000 to programs and agencies across our Diocese,” said Bishop Alfred Schlert.

December 13, 2020 – Retired Religious Fund
Across the United States, hundreds of religious communities lack financial resources sufficient to meet the retirement and health-care needs of aging members. Many elder religious worked for years for small stipends, leaving a large gap in retirement savings. Like many Americans, religious communities face the monumental challenge of funding eldercare. The fund underwrites financial assistance, consultation, and education that help religious communities meet the immediate and ongoing needs of aging members.