Offertory Season in Full Swing
The Power of Offertory in Nurturing Our Faith Communities
In the heart of every parish lies a commitment to community and spiritual growth. One tradition that has consistently nourished this growth is the act of offertory. Over the years, we've seen its profound impact, with countless parishes leaning into this practice to fortify their spiritual and financial foundations.
A Look Back at Offertory Success
In the fiscal year 2022, we saw offertory contributions across the Archdiocese increase an impressive 5.5% increase from the previous year. This spike, interestingly, coincided with a growth in Mass attendance. As the congregation numbers swelled, so did the loose collections, accounting for a noteworthy increment of $3 million. While such collections often oscillate in nature, they undeniably contributed to the Archdiocese's fiscal health that year.
However, 2023 presented an unexpected shift. Fewer parishes - less than 70 in fact - embarked on the offertory journey. This resulted in a slight dip of 0.5% in total giving across the archdiocese. Yet, in a promising sign for this fall, we've already secured the commitment of over 70 parishes to boldly encourage offertory gifts and engage in an offertory program. This fervent dedication from our pastors shows that the spirit of offertory remains strong and vibrant.
Why Regular Offertory Programs Matter
Our offertory programs aren't just about the money but about reinforcing commitment and building community. The heart of its success is its annual implementation every fall. Asking your parishioners to reflect and ponder on their commitment and gauge the feasibility of elevating their contribution is the key to all successful offertory programs. This approach, time and again, has reaped considerable rewards.
By benchmarking our performance relative to 2019, it becomes clear that many parishes thrive when parishioners return to Mass. But resting on our laurels isn't the solution. We need to be proactive. The winter months can often see a dip in Mass attendance, which is why now is the perfect time to rally the troops and ensure our parishes remain vibrant and thriving.
Introducing the "A Community United" Offertory Program
Understanding the complexities of initiating a robust offertory program, we've developed the “A Community United” initiative. Designed as a comprehensive foundation, this program simplifies the process for you. While it provides a solid framework, there's ample scope for customization, allowing you to tailor the message fittingly for your parish.
From a ready-to-use sample homily, social media posts, and emails, to bulletin announcements, this program ensures that communication remains consistent and engaging. It's an initiative that takes away the initial hitches and lets you focus on what truly matters - connecting with your community and fostering a spirit of generosity.
Looking Ahead with Hope and Action
Even if your parish is currently exceeding expectations, there's always room to grow and fortify. For instance, merely promoting online giving over a designated weekend, especially when presenting your annual report, could reap significant benefits.
But how can you, as a pastor, steer this ship effectively?
Firstly, recognize and appreciate your invaluable role in both the parish community and the broader Archdiocese. When you champion the fall offertory program, it does more than boost financial support. It tightens the bond of unity within our faith community, laying the foundation for a vibrant, spiritually nourished future.
Next, if you haven't already, collaborate with your Advancement Director. They can guide you in deploying the “A Community United” offertory program this autumn. Your combined efforts can indeed secure the bright future our parishes deserve!