Notes from Exile – Day 2
I’m keeping count of the days in exile simply for my own benefit. At my advanced age, I need to keep numbers in front of me lest I forget where I am in the count.
An advantage to working from home is there is not temptation to get up and wander around, bothering my workmates. Another advantage is that it is a little harder to get called into meetings at a moment’s notice.
Those things aside, I am finding some silver linings in what appears to be a cloud that gets darker by the day.
In our diocese, all Masses have been suspended, schools are closed, parish events have been cancelled. Heck, even Friday Lenten fish fries have been cancelled, so we know this is really serious! But what I am finding is a sense of community, aid, charity, and caring that seemed so rare in our world not long ago.
Since this is a blog about stewardship, and stewardship is about taking care of all gifts God has given us, which includes money, let me get down to the nitty gritty here regarding that touchy subject – money.
We are working with parishes to get them up and running with livestreaming Mass, staying in touch with parishioners using available technology, and helping them with their offertory needs. A harsh reality of this whole virus adventure is that with people unable to attend Mass, they don’t have a way to get the envelope with their contribution to the church.
Online giving is a BIG thing these days, but we as Church have been slow to embrace it as a standard. Parishes still depend a great deal on envelopes, checks, and cash in the basket on Sunday morning. That is stopping, and so is their income.
I know that the economy is awful right now, and that people are hurting. I also know that when people hurt, they turn to their church for help. That’s why it is so important for those who can give to continue to give, and they can do that through online giving.
Several companies are reducing or eliminating fees for parishes to offer online giving. Our finance department has made the option available to parishes by using already-established diocesan resources. Everyone understands there is a big problem, and I am seeing an all-hands-on-deck approach to help solve it.
I’ve been in business and Church business a long time. I’ve seen bad situations made worse by people carpet-bagging their way into the pocket books of the injured. A situation is never so terrible that unconscionable people will not continue to do the unconscionable.
However, today there is a different feel to it. The vendors I have talked to don’t have the words or energy that says “profiteer” to me. They see the enormity of the challenge, the vast numbers of people hurting, and they want to do more.
I pray that this is so. You pray it is so, too, please. Please, God, let it be.