Parish offertory makes giving a year-round tradition

giftsAs the commercial gift-giving season draws to a close, Bob Hultz, a parishioner at Blessed Sacrament, Cocoa, is enjoying the spiritual riches that accompany a year-round commitment to parish offertory giving.

"Blessed Sacrament holds a special place in our hearts. We believe it is very important to support our parish through year-round offertory gifts so that the parish can provide the ministries and services much needed in this area," said Bob.

Blessed Sacrament is one of 26 parishes currently participating in a structured Offertory Enhancement Initiative that aims to reconnect the faithful with the joy of ministry while helping parishes to secure the resources they need to further their work.

The 18-week program, which utilizes a direct mail approach coupled with an in-pew process, encourages families to commit to an offertory increase of $5-$15 per week over the previous year.

These small, incremental increases are already adding up to healthy revenue gains for parishes. Since the program began in the fall of 2012, a combined total of more than $388,000 has been raised in additional offertory revenue for the participating parishes.

Although final results are not yet available, preliminary figures at the parish level show an average weekly offertory increase of 18%. At Blessed Sacrament, the results have been even more impressive. More than 40% of registered households pledged to increase their weekly offertory contribution, and initial results show a gain of nearly 22% in offertory revenue compared to the same period last year.

Sustained offertory increases play a critical role in the ability of a parish to serve the community and minister to God's people. While Alive in Christ is helping parishes meet large-scale capital and endowment needs, parishes still rely on regular offertory giving to meet day to day expenses. With fewer than 500 registered households, Blessed Sacrament, like other small parishes, often utilizes the entire offertory for everyday operations, leaving a slim margin for emergencies.

"I am very proud of our parish for coming to our aid during the Offertory Enhancement Program. They are truly a hard working people and have always been there for us when we were in need," said Fr. Anthony Quinlivan, Pastor at Blessed Sacrament, Cocoa.

The Diocese of Orlando is currently underwriting the cost of the Offertory Enhancement Initiative, a service of The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, so that parishes will only be responsible for incidental expenses.

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