I am planning to go to Mass again tomorrow, but as I am 17, and don’t have a job, I am afraid I will not be able to donate anything. I have some coins, and a few dollars, but that is it. Can you donate coins? Is it a sin to not donate if you don’t really have much money?
As a minor, it is primarily your parents’ role to monetarily support the Church at this point. I see you are unbaptized and wanting to join the Church. If your parents are not religious or members of the Church, they are obviously not going to support the Church financially, and that would not be expected.
You should contribute what you believe you can, whether that is time, talent or treasure. At your age, you are capable of giving time and talent (such as serving at Mass, volunteering to help the less fortunate, spending time in prayer or adoration, etc.) if not treasure.
Each person is called to prayerfully discern what they are able to give. The Church teaches we are to support our local and the universal Church through prayerful stewardship. Time, talent, and treasure. The Church does not establish any specific giving criteria. We are to discern that for ourselves.
My advice is that you always be generous with time, talent, and treasure. If you can give a few coins, do so. If you can give a dollar, do so. When you get a job, prayerfully establish an amount you are going to give each week or month, and set that aside first from each paycheck.
The Gospel according to Saint Luke, Chapter 21, Verses 1-4:
The Poor Widow’s Contribution
"When he looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”
May God bless you and keep you forever and lead you to His Truth in the Catholic Church!
When you say spending time in prayer, do you mean praying the rosary, or praying for people in need or prayer, or both?
I don’t really think my parents would want me to be away from them for a long times (I could be wrong about this, but I have a strange fear of asking them questions that they might disagree with), so I am afraid I can’t really volunteer to help people.
Whatever kind of prayer you wish to engage in.
You could ask your parents to volunteer WITH you. “Hey Mom and Dad, why don’t we volunteer to help at the homeless shelter once a month as a family?” or “Mom and Dad, let’s commit to take one box of food to the food pantry every month as a family.”
Only you know your parents, so these are of course just suggestions. If you can’t, you can’t. Don’t be scrupulous about the situation (meaning, don’t see sin where there isn’t any).
I am pretty sure they would say yes, but the problem isn’t really that. I have a strange fear of asking my parents questions like that. In fact, I even had trouble asking my father to come to church with me today (I feel nervous going somewhere by myself for some reason).
Another problem is that we live in the country. I don’t know if there are many places to volunteer around here.
I suppose I could volunteer at church, since I can play the piano and melodeon by ear. However I can’t read music. Do you have to be Baptized to volunteer at church?
While some ministries do require baptism-- such as those at the altar during Mass-- most do not.
Singing in the choir, participating in youth group or social ministries such as food pantry, etc, do not require that you be baptized already.