Fundraiser or Celebration of the Mass?

I have a quick question.

Is it wrong for a priest to ask for money during the homily (or rather pretty much instead of giving a homily)?

The church that we’ve been going to has been hammering on about a new youth building that they’re planning and asking for donations for it every single Sunday at Mass for the past few weeks. Its come to the point that I began dreading Mass because its been a horrible example to my Husband who is not Catholic, though a good enough Husband to accompany me and my children to Mass.

Today had me fuming as the Priest made that the big topic in his homily AND gave time for everyone to fill out donation envelopes and encouraged them to sign up for a three year commitment of donating. Complete with “guilt trip-y” stories.

I found it extremely distasteful and wanted to get up and leave in the middle of his homily. I wanted to shout… maybe throw something, I don’t know. But I’m really miffed at the whole thing. I’m just wanting to go to Mass, not a fundraiser!

Do I say something to this priest? Am I wrong? (I can’t imagine that I would be here… many things I am wrong about, but I can’t imagine I’m off the mark on this, right?)

Sorry for the mini-rant. And thank you.

No.

Clearly this upsets you, but I can’t fathom why. Perhaps you can get in touch with **WHY **this upsets you so before you go talk to your pastor.

Yes, IMHO you are wrong to be so upset that you wanted to throw something or leave Mass. This seems way out of proportion to the situation. Stewardship of time, talent, and treasure is a Catholic message.

Is there something wrong with a youth center? Do you not believe that to be a good use of funds and something good for the youth of your area? If not, talk to your parish council, talk to your pastor, but do so in a reasonable manner.

Thank you for your answer, 1ke.

Just so you know, I didn’t literally want to throw something (that was just my poor attempt at humor). But I did really want to leave.

And I don’t have a problem with what the church is doing in building a youth center. Not at all. I’ve even donated. I just find it to be inappropriate that it gets pushed during the homily. I wouldn’t have a problem with it if it was brought up after Mass during the announcements… just not in the middle of Mass. Everything to its proper time.

Anyway, I kind of feel like this was a failure to communicate on some level.

But thank you for your answer anyway.

Your message was clear to me.
I also have have experienced an overemphasis on fundraising to the exclusion of the message of the scriptures in repeated homilies.
Thanks be to God, it has been many years since this has happened in a parish I attended.

(Now if we could just get the Padre and the music ministers to follow the Church’s liturgical teachings.)

I’m going to have to say you’re wrong on this one, the Homilies purpose is to reflect on the Gospels, not beg for money.

Speaking as a person with a Youth Group nearing 100 kids who come to hear about God and prepare for Confirmation in a place that doesn’t even have enough chairs for all of them, and who has to listen to stories about how they don’t believe anyone cares about them, how they are bullied at school for being Catholic, how their friends don’t understand why we believe as we do, and that they don’t really have anyone they can trust to talk to…
I would GLADLY have our pastor ask for money for a Youth Center.
It’s necessary everywhere. You cannot believe what our kids have to contend with daily, the messages they are given, and the pressures they feel from people who don’t have their best interests at heart.
Kids need a safe place to learn the truth about God.
Try to see it from the perspective of parents who struggle to keep their kids in church. They are the future. We need to make sure they are served and well catechized.
It’s not different than asking for funds for St. Vincent de Paul, for the Parish kitchen equipment, for repairs to the rectory, etc. It’s all part of serving the flock. :shrug:
Equipment doesn’t fall off trucks. Many people don’t realize the needs of a parish unless you spell it out for them.
God bless.

And yet, today’s Gospel was on the talents and the five and twofold return on investment.

:slight_smile:

Honestly, usually we get two “we need money” talks per year. One’s for the parish (mainly “you might not know that we have bills (and lay staff) to pay, and the only money we get is from donations - and we’re running a little short right now”), and the other is often a video sent by the archdiocese kicking off the yearlong archdiocesan collection. Oddly enough, most pastors I’ve had have felt so uncomfortable giving these talks that they have someone else do them instead. I’m serious. Your situation is strange in that the priest has talked about this for several weeks in a row - most pastors will talk about fundraising issues once, then move them to the bulletin and/or announcements at the end of Mass. But the main reason pastors give the “money talk” in lieu of a homily is precisely because it’s when they have the attention of everyone. A lot of people leave after Communion and aren’t around to hear the announcements, and bulletins are thrown away.

Can someone clarify this, particularly if you think it’s acceptable to ask for funds during Mass? I’m not being provocative or snarky here – I’m seriously asking. Is it a liturgical abuse to speak about diocesan appeals once a year during Mass (let alone what’s described in the OP’s post)?

At the conclusion of Mass the lector or priest may make general announcements for the information of the parish; that’s specified in the Order. But no one may stop the Mass to make announcements, give financial reports, or make pleas for funds (Inter Oecumenici;
Inaestimabile Donum).

churchmilitant.tv/cia/03Massdest/24.pdf

(In general, I’m not a CMTV fan but at the moment, it’s what I could find in relation to this issue.)

1ke, The homilies for every Sunday of, at least the last two months have been littered and practically replaced with begging for donations. Its been rather off putting. Today’s reading seemed used as an excuse to roll out the donation forms and the three year donation commitment in the middle of Mass while everyone is a captive audience. It wasn’t a homily about giving to the poor, giving your talents and time to the church or any of that, it was specifically we want to build this, now give us your money.

I do not have a problem with a quick mention of needs for funding, it just seemed extremely inappropriate the way its been done and how incessantly its been.

Again, I don’t have a problem donating to the church. We do it every Sunday and for other things as well. I don’t have a problem with the Youth building (I have kids!).

From another perspective, its like I mentioned, my husband is not Catholic. I really hope someday he might become Catholic… I often feel like it will never happen. Every time we go to church the inside of me is sunk like a rock just looking for hope… and when we’ve seen this Sunday after Sunday and letting it go figuring it’ll get back to normal homilies soon (because he is a pretty good priest and has had some very good homilies), I’m discouraged. Today was a huge disappointment, my husband was disappointed and taken aback by it, and I couldn’t believe it. I’ve been in other churches where the Priest will break down the church expenses and say a thing or two about donating but only on that one Sunday of the year and very quickly (not overshadowing an “homily” with it), but never anything like today. I felt blindsided. My husband compared it to when he was in college in florida (he’s a good bit older than me) some pastor by the name of Reverend Ike telling people to take their money out of their wallets and “give it to God, you don’t want to hold out on God”… I felt embarrassed by this church today. I’m sorry if I’m wrong for that but that’s how I felt. The way they did that today wasn’t like anything I’d ever seen in any other Catholic Church I’d ever regularly attended.

Thank you Roadsend.

Thank you UnorthodoxIdiot

Thank you PowerofK

Thank you, GracePoole

Well, do you have a good relationship with your pastor? Can you talk to him about your concerns in a calm manner? What about your parish council members?

Don’t stew about it, if it really bothers you. Make sure the message is what you say here-- it’s not about the need for money but rather the method of delivery. Priests are human beings, they have strengths and shortcomings just like the rest of us.

I’m sorry this is weighing on you, and your husband. We all come with different perspectives, and of course none of us posting here were actually there so all I do is give my opinion.

If you feel your pastor isn’t going about things the best way, suggest that your parish get help from the diocesan office of development-- most diocesan development directors will do training for parishes on stewardship and methodology for fundraising.

I think there’s a general misconception that

  1. Priests and Pastors LIKE asking for money
  2. that the collection provides for everything that the parish needs for the good of the people.

Neither are these are true.
There’s not one priest who wouldn’t MUCH rather preach only on the Gospels.
There aren’t many parishes that have ample funds to serve the children, the needy, and the elderly.
Very few people tithe in accordance with their income.
Parishes have to ask for money to do the work that they do.
It’s not about liturgical abuse.
I used to have a Pastor who vowed never to talk about money. He was hounded by the Archdiocese for not ever being able to make the tax payment to them, and the people who worked in the parish were never paid a living wage. We never gave more than a few hundred dollars to causes, the missions, or seminarians. All our vessels were old and banged up, and we never had retreats for the parish, never had a Parish Mission.
Finally, one day, he told everyone that we might have to close.
The first response? WHY DIDN’T YOU EVER TELL US?
Granted, it may seem tiresome to some, but really, a parish has legitimate expenses, and it doesn’t just “happen” on it’s own.

Having seen reports from more than one parish which indicate how many parishioners are donating, compared to how many are attending Mass, there is something seriously wrong when the numbers come up to less than 50% of the families (not bodies - families) contributing. And I have seen that number. They take the cash donations - the $1.00 and the $5.00 and the $10.00 and the $20.00 bills and parcel them out among the families, as well as the checks and the envelopes. And it is still scandalous as to how many contribute nothing.

That is not to suggest that anyone in this forum is not donating. It is to point out the reality that the pastor faces - unless he hounds people, it is all too easy for any number of the congregation to legitimately - or not legitimately, forget that there is a fund raiser.

As Pianistclaire said, equipment doesn’t fall off the back of the truck as it passes the church or the school, or the office…

Neither does sheetrock, or roofing materials, or, you get the point.

If anyone is tired of hearing it from the pastor, have they talked with other parishioners asking that the other parishioners contribute? Has there been any discussion ofthe than to complain about how often the pastor is mentioning it?

Those who are not part of the solution are part of the problem. Catholics are notoriously poor givers. What are each of us doing to rectify this?

“I found it extremely distasteful and wanted to get up and leave in the middle of his homily. I wanted to shout… maybe throw something, I don’t know. But I’m really miffed at the whole thing. I’m just wanting to go to Mass, not a fundraiser!”

Very colorfully worded…I can just see it! I’m sympathetic.
Repeating the same thing week after week about needing money for a specific project would get irritating----(“we heard ya the first time, Father!”)

Could be that the money isn’t coming in like expected or needed. Whats a good pastor to do? Start using a bullhorn from the pulpit?:okpeople:

Maybe the Holy Spirit is actually wanting you to step up to the plate and help Father and the Finance Committee with some brainstorming about fund-raising. Many years ago, my father was part of a parish group that made home visits in the evenings to all the parishioners to explain the church building campaign and ask for a pledge card…a sit-down, one-on-one, polite request. I think they left the cards and information and came the following week to pick it up or something. A lot of people were involved and each had to visit just a few others. It worked: the money was raised, the church was built and life went on.

If your priest got some help in this matter, maybe he could get back to the the other weekly homily topic…how to get to heaven.:angel1:

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