Money for Sacraments and classes?

I was just curious, if paying money for R.C.I.A. was a new thing or if the Church has been doing this for a while? Also, I heard that in some areas people are even having to pay for baptism? I don’t recall paying to go through R.C.I.A. around 6 or 7 years ago. Any thoughts?

I’ve never heard about people paying for R.C.I.A., but some parishes do ask for a small amount of money for that sort of thing, that way they can make sure their materials are up-to-date (books, videos, et c.).

No one pays for a sacrament. It’s a sin, in fact, if the priest refuses to perform the sacrament without pay.
However, it is common for a parish to ask for a donation, or to “tip” the priest (sometimes called a “stole fee”) when he does that sort of thing (burials, weddings, et c.).
Donating some money to the parish for such a thing is encouraged (since they do need to pay for heating, utilities, and salaries for the priest, the secretaries, and some other staff), but it’s usually not required.
If there’s some sort of financial hardship that makes it impossible to pay, the pastor’s almost always willing to waive the donation.

Well, my girlfriend is starting R.C.I.A. classes on the 10th and we are required to pay $50.00. Their was no mention of a donation, we have to pay that amount before the 10th, so I was wondering why that would be because it would seem to put some people off on the idea since its how one becomes catholic. Any thoughts?

It’s not uncommon for parishes to ask for a fee for certain things. They have to pay for heating, electricity, refreshments, books, etc. There are a lot of costs that go into it.

Not all parishes handle the communication portion as well as they could. They may not communicate it as a “donation”, but it really is. I have never known any parish anywhere to ever turn someone away from something because they couldn’t pay the “fee”.

I figured it was to cover costs. It just sort of confused my girlfriend because she felt that, as something that was required, their should be no fee.

My thought: Find another church to take the RCIA classes in.

Required to pay” is bad language for the parish to use. If she has trouble paying it, and she spoke to the RCIA coordinator or the pastor, I’m sure it would be waived. If not, both of them ought to be reprimanded.

When it comes to things like religious education, RCIA, and youth groups, individual parishes often try to stay on top of new materials. Besides paying for the utilities of the building where the classes will be held, the parishes will need to buy supplies for every participant. Some parishes are lucky enough that the weekly collections are able to cover this, but some are not. Unfortunately, some parishes need to ask for a donation to cover fees, but it should never be required.

I never had to pay a penny.

I was given all kinds of items to get me started: little books, prayer cards, a little framed picture of Our Lady, leaflets, medals, etc. I offered to make a donation for these but was told that it was the parish’s pleasure to give such things to help me on my journey.

At the Easter I was baptised and confirmed, I was given an awesome hanging Crucifix and a beautiful leather-bound Bible and a book of illustrated Psalms, as well as the certificate of Baptism and Confirmation. Also during the Scrutinies in the weeks before, I was given laminated momentoes of each Scrutiny.

I got around the donation bit by dropping extra cash into the collection because I could not take without giving.

But what stuck with me was the absolute joy washing over me from my priest and my catechist. They made me feel so special and that was picked up by the congregation who cheered me into the church that Easter. I will never forget my journey through RCIA.

If it truly is a hardship it needs to be discussed with the pastor. Many are embarrassed to bring that up, but they shouldn’t be.

A driver’s license is required for driving, but you don’t get that for free. :wink:

I completely understand being confused by it. Would that no parish program ever had to mention anything about cost or fees. I think it would be great if every parish could cover the costs of every ministry they do without ever “charging” for them.

But, the money has to come from somewhere. Unfortunately, with the current giving habits of most Catholics, many parishes have to resort to such fee scales simply because people don’t put enough in the collection basket to cover such costs.

It’s a shame that parishes feel they have to do such a thing. It is what it is. What is really needed is a paradigm shift in Catholic stewardship so that parishes would always have enough money for whatever they do. But that’s easier said than done, of course.

Thank you all for your posts. It’s not that we can’t afford the fee, but rather the way in which the charge was communicated I think. But I think $50.00 to help the Church with anything is always worth it.

No one should be excluded from the RCIA program due to money issues. Our parish requires no payment. All costs are absorbed by the parish. If anyone knows of a parish that does this differently, I would like to know. There are times when a “recommended” offering may be suggested for certain classes or programs, but money should never be required for those who c/n pay.

Yes, communication isn’t everyone’s strong suit. :o It is much better (and more accurate, I think) to view it as a donation to the Church than as a charge for admission.

Quoted for truth.

Too many Catholics arrive to Mass drinking a $7 coffee, drop a single dollar in the collection plate, and then speed off after Mass to lunch at a nice restaurant.

That is just flat-out wrong! Lord, forgive us!

This is called a stipend. It is not out of the ordinary and is in order to help defray the costs of the programs. No one can be excluded because they cannot pay the recommended donation amount.

Its the same for an annulment process, baptism, marriage, etc. any of the preparation programs for sacraments; it all costs money. Canon Law allows for these stipends and requires a pastor do not deny a sacrament because of inability to pay.

This is not “wrong” or some great injustice; this is the way the Church works and stays able to serve.

Since the class is mandatory if you are interested in possibly becoming Catholic the charge would be an immediate turn-off.

For Mass Intentions, Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals I believe a generous donation/stipend should be given.

In my Parish, almost everything says something along the lines of " Suggested donation is: $—. Money should not prevent anyone from attending, so if you cannot pay the cost please contact _____. "

When I attended RCIA, there was no charge. My family, all non-Catholics, even asked how much it was costing me to become Catholic! I was so thankful to respond that growing in my journey towards God and joining the church, although priceless in value, didn’t include a fee. I have since sponsored in 3 parishes for a total of 8 times and have never seen anyone charged. Recently, in my parish, the decision was made to charge each person entering RCIA $30!!! I was shocked and horrified- why charge someone for wanting to become a Catholic?? My husband and I approached the RCIA director and offered to pay (anonymously) for each person entering the program. I’m equally sure that if the parish members were made aware of the RCIA charging a fee, that many would be happy to step up and offer “scholarships” as we have done. In my opinion, NO ONE should have to pay in order to become a Catholic!!

I would be surprised if charges happened in my parish, but if it did, then what you suggested is an excellent idea. I would happily donate to ensure that those coming home had the same privileges I had in my RCIA. Thanks for the idea - maybe a good way to make a contribution anyway.:thumbsup:

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