Religious Education Fees

Hello,
I’ve been wondering lately about the fees parishes charge for religious education like preparing kids for First Communion or Confirmation. I’ve been wondering if there’s an average amount asked for or if there are guidelines to follow and how people feel about fees.

A parish I’m familiar with asks for the following donations:

$65 for one child.
$90 for two children.
$115 for more than 3 siblings.

This is how it was written in a recent parish bulletin. Do you think this is a fair amount? Is it a common amount in your experience? What do you think is a fair amount to ask for?

My parish charges $40 for the first kid, $40 for the second kid, and the cost of the textbook ($9.00) for each additional kid.

It’s very difficult to speak in generalities about this, though. The costs will be higher in some parts of the country over others. There are all sorts of costs involved that we often don’t realize. There are textbooks, other materials, social gatherings, retreats, etc. that all need to be paid for somehow.

Every parish I’ve ever encountered has operated their religious ed. program at a financial loss (i.e. the fees don’t cover the actual costs). Also, every parish I’ve ever encountered will not turn away any child for their inability to pay.

I know sometimes people get persnickety that parishes or dioceses charge for anything. My response to that is always that we could do away with the fees for religious ed. programs, do away with tuition in Catholic schools, and do away with charging for anything at all if every parishioner was giving what they ought to in the Sunday collection. :slight_smile:

Very good question! Our parish is in line with other area RC Churches and our fees are $80.00 one child, $120.00 for two children, $150.00 for three or more children. Even though these fees are expensive, they cover only one-half of what the church pays the public school for use of their classrooms. It’s important to understand what the fee includes, such as these types of rental fees. It also includes books, other materials, the DRE salary and office support, retreat days, etc. I think I can say with certainty, that no church makes any kind of profit from the Religious Education fees. Finally, most parishes will waive the fees for families who may be struggling financially. No child should be turned away because of financial issues. I hope that helps!

Whether or not something is a “fair” price depend upon many factors. Each parish will be different.

The factors will include the costs involved in running the program and to what extent the program is funded by the fees and/or subsidized by the general parish funds (Sunday collection, pledges, etc).

Here are some things that the parish has to pay for one way or another-- through fees or through the parish collection:

the cost of student books and teacher books (typically teacher books are a one-time cost unless you change programs or get updated versions of a program, while student books are the workbook type that they write in and therefore are new every year for each child).

heating/cooling/facilities usage and cleaning; art and craft supplies; copy paper and copier usage; supplemental teaching materials such as DVDs used in the program; classroom sets of bibles, catechisms, etc; catechist preparation training (could be outside speakers that come in, could be workbooks that must be purchased)

Sacramental preparation-- fees associated with retreats, extra materials provided for sacramental prep (workbooks, parent books, making a banner, etc), fees for the bishop/priest who performs the sacrament

Some parishes have paid staff for religious education director, sacrament prep coordinator, etc, while others have volunteer only folks in these positions.

So, $100 at parish A may be outrageous while $100 at parish B barely gets things covered

I wanted to get some context for this so thank you for the replies so far. :slight_smile:

Our parish has fees of $30 or $40 per kid, depending on program, and a $100 maximum per family. There is also a sacrament prep fee if you have a child making a sacrament that year, to cover supplies for that. And they will waive all of it if need be. Our pastor is VERY dedicated to making sure that every family that wants to be in the WCC program is there. Every year, along with the sign-up sheets, are forms for people to sponsor children who can’t afford the program.

I think any church that is going to preach against artificial birth control is obligated to help provide the resources to take care of all the large families that will result from that! And the smaller ones, too… :wink:

My third grader will be confirmed and recieve his first Eucharist this spring. I am so excited! :bounce:

Starting this year, CCD is free at our parish. “Free” meaning parents don’t pay any fee. It will be funded through the various parish fundraisers like the bazaar and such.

wow it is that time of year again
if you want a search, brace yourself and approach with a strong drink in your hand, there are many past, acrimonious discussions of this topic (soon to be banned, I hope)

there is NO fee for sacraments, ever. Parish staff and parishioners commonly talk about a fee, but they are really talking about a fee or suggested donation to cover incidental costs incurred by the parish in preparing for and administering the sacrament–use of the church in case of a wedding for instance, A/C, cleaning, lights etc. Books and supplies in the case of RE for sacramental preparation of children.

Yes your diocese probably has guidelines
yes your parish is probably within those guidelines
in both cases they are usually set by true need, almost never cover the entire cost incurred by the parish, and are what the traffic will bear. There can be wide latitude between neighboring parishes, based on resources, true costs, and income level of parishioners. Almost all have some way to waive fees for those in need. Some parishes (like ours) suggest a donation to cover the cost of books (the hugest expense after overhead and salaries) but no mandatory fee.

Repeat and hang this on your doorposts and teach it to your children: there is never a fee for sacraments, and parishes that have embraced stewardship spirituality including tithing can easily cover the cost of RE, sacramental preparation and even in most cases Catholic school education for all their parishioners.

the new textbooks from our publisher are 20% higher in cost than the old edition, and the catechist manuals almost 80% higher, If I order this year I will get free catechist manuals with every 25 books, so I over-ordered to save money next year, as I can no longer obtain the older edition (at reduced cost through a clearing house). we will consequently have a shortfall this year, but save a bit next year. because a capital campaign has reduced regular collections, my budget is half what it was when I took this job, rather than being raised along with rising expenses.

Many poorer parishes her do and can run an RE program w/o texts, or using books meant to be consumable year after year, or using alternative resources (with commensurate photocopy expense, not negligible). It can be done, but puts a greater burden on the catechist, and on the child, when books are not used as intended. these decisions are generally made by the parish finance council and approved by the pastor. If you want to be part of the decision making, investigate that process.

my cost per pupil, just in books and supplies, not counting overhead or salaries, is $25, which is our standard fee and has been for many years, before I got here. Add 7 to 15 for each sacrament for which the child is preparing, which includes the resources for the mandatory parent-sponsor meetings and retreats. The parents pay nothing additional to cover that, but families are given a generic donation envelope which they can use at their discretion, but that goes to the parish to cover sacramental expenses, not to CCD. RCIA costs over $50 for each adult or child received into the Church, and the Spanish program is almost that much–more expensive resources spread over a smaller group of participants means less economy of scale. The parish takes up all the cost for RCIA.

A/C on average is $100/day for the school an $70/day for the hall, and we use all this space Tuesday & Wednesdy evening, 2 sessions Saturday morning, and 3 sessions Sunday morning. That is not even in the CCD budget, parish covers it, plus my salary and that of a PT secretary (which barely meet diocesan guidelines for a living wage). I run programs all summer long as well.

we also spend an average of $24 per year, per catechist, on formation classes, retreats etc., that does not include the $15 each for the diocesan convocation

I don’t understand why people object to parish CCD fees. The materials have to paid for somehow. If there is a financial issue, talk to the priest about it; I’m sure the parish will work with you on it.

I see a parallel with the public schools. My two boys go to public schools, and every year they are charged school fees to cover this workbook and that supply. One would think that our tax dollars would cover these things just as one would think that the parish general fund would cover CCD costs. But for whatever reason, these costs are not covered and so we pay school fees and CCD fees. It’s the price we pay for educating our children.

the answer is going to vary widely even among parishes in one diocese or city, you can call the diocesan office of catechetics to get a comparison of parishes in your diocese if you think the fees are unfair.

We accept donations, but do not collect fees, but 95% of families pay the suggested $25 per child, 55 max per family. Homeschoolers pay nothing as we give them a used book that has not been written in. Volunteer service also “counts” as a donation.

the range here among the 6-7 parishes surrounding us is from 0 to $75 for a non-parishioner

Wow! I didn’t realize fees were so varied in different areas. I think we pay $30 per child or $40 for two or more. Pretty reasonable, I’d say.

$15 for one child and $30 for 2 or more. And I thought THAT was high… I really wanted our kids to join this year, but believe it or not, $30 is actually a lot of money right now…

Oh well, I can teach them at home for free!:thumbsup:

At my parish confirmation classes are 50 dollars… and i think 30 for first communion classes…

I dont know but this makes me very uncomfortable. First we say that you need the sacramental prep classes for the sacraments, but if you cant or will not pay, you cant take the classes. I wonder what the percentage of budgets that the ccd programs get. In one parish, it was one percent. maybe at three percent, they wouldnt have to charge so much or even anything. THere are parishes out there that can put people over a pickle barrell. WOuldnt it be something for a catholic out there to say to a protestant, hey, I wanted to go to Sunday school or ccd, but it cost too much. Why dont parishes budget more money for the ccd programs. I was raised in prostestant sunday schools where they used just as much books and supplies, and they never charged anything. There was however a sunday school offering each week.

Again, I would reiterate: no parish will turn someone away for inability to pay.

Thats good, because that would be tragic. I myself am a CCD teacher, and if it would come down to someone being turned away, iI would pay for my student’s book myself. I have also bought materials for my classroom in the past.

That’s great to hear! Thank you for your service as a catechist!

Reading posts like this brings tears to my eyes. I would just love to be part of a parish that charges for Faith Formation. That would mean that I was part of a parish where the members cared enough about Faith Formation to pay for it. At our parish so few people are interested in teaching that each teacher has about 3 grades to teach, but it doesn’t really matter, because each class size is still only about 7 students(and we have 400 registered families, with about 250 of them active) -that’s with all of them added together. I can’t imagine what it would be like to attend a parish where people cared about the faith that much.

i’m sorry about your parish… but the more i’m on these forums i realize how great my parish is… although oddly enough… last week the priest put the stole over the chasuble… first time he’s ever done that but probably because he rushed…
Anyway our parish just built a 4million dollar 2 story “family” building where some catechism classes will be held because our old building is too small… and 2 of the four sunday masses will be held there too! because the church which holds about 500 people is too small! and the new building can hold up to 1000 people!
and after the 4million dollar loan is payed off… Father said that the construction of a NEW CHURCH can begin!!! so we won’t have to have the mass outside of the church…

SORRY! i just had to say that! Not all parishes are bad… I’m glad my parish is expanding with many more people!

if this is the situation at your parish, have you asked the pastor your question?

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