Collection- making one donation outside of Mass?


I am a soon-to-be Catholic with a question about the weekly collection at Mass. Is it acceptable to make a donation outside of Mass (either online or in person) to the local parish/particular shrine/charity (perhaps once a month or as called) and offer it up to the Lord in prayer in lieu of the weekly bills-into-a-basket-on-a-stick collection? I rarely carry much cash on hand and do not use checks for the most part, and with the number of charities and organizations that can be reached via internet it seems like there is a lot of potential to expand our reach.


There are specific organizations, approved by the church, that allow you to make a monthly donation through on-line checking or credit card. Check with your parish to see if they work with any of them. Alternately, you can always write one check on the first Sunday of the month to cover the whole month. You don’t have to write the check during Mass–it can be prepared ahead of time. Include the amounts for each Sunday and special collection you wish to participate in–usually the special collections for the month are listed in the bulletin or the church office can let you know.

I’m not sure if you are asking whether you can make your Sunday offering to the church outside of Mass, or if you are asking whether you can make a donation in lieu of your Sunday offering to another charitable organization.

Regarding the former, yes, you can. You can write one check for the week, month, or whatever interval you desire, and bring/mail it to the parish office if you would rather not drop it in the Sunday collection basket.

As for the latter, you can make a donation to whatever charitable organization you wish, but it should not be in place of your Sunday offering to your parish. One of the 6 precepts of the Church is to help provide for the needs of the Church according to our ability, and this means contributing to the Sunday offering.

As Mrs. Sally noted, the parish may well participate in an on-line service. Mine uses ParishPay. The parish actually strongly encourages people to go that route if possible, as it provides them a more predictable income stream month-by-month.

If you are as unreliable as I am about remembering to bring the checkbook, even just once a month, another option would be to set up your parish as a monthly “bill” to be paid through your bank. DH & I actually have this running in addition to ParishPay, since we wanted to provide regular support to the parish outreach program that assists people with groceries, utilities, etc. There wasn’t any way to designate part of our on-line monthly donation to go to Outreach, so I just set up something separate at the bank. Outreach receives a small check from us every month in the mail and I don’t have to keep remembering to take care of it… :thumbsup:

Good luck as you prepare to become Catholic!


PS One random point: since DH & I have young children, we still dole out a few dollar bills to them to put in the basket most weekends, since we’re also trying to train them in the habit of giving. They don’t see (or understand) about giving money online, so we figure it’s good for them to get it ingrained at an early age that supporting the Church is a serious obligation, even if the amount is small.

Excellent PS! FaithDirect, which my parish uses gives little cards that you can drop in the basket, but that is not as immediate for a child as a dfollar bill or a few quarters. Mine are teens, so they understand all about online banking (and online everything! :p) so I don’t even have to worry about that. We have a list on faithdirect of all 2nd collections and even our St Vincent group, so I can inlcude it all in the monthly debit. Very handy.

Many parishes have pre-authorized debits for donations. They just debit an amount from your account say once a month which counts as your donation to your parish (and I guess it also reduces the overhead and administration a bit too).

Yes, the direct debit is certainly an option, a very good one, at that. For the Peter’s Pence, I usually go directly to the Vatican website and make my contribution there. At least I know that my money is going straight to where it needs to go. The Holy See sends you a very pleasant acknowledgement email. Even though I realize the emails are mass-generated, it’s nice to get a speedy response.

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