Lenten Appeal Collections Down by 61%
Due to the lockdown, which first restricted and then closed churches just a couple weeks into Lent, collection for the Bishops’ Lenten Appeal this year dropped by 61%.
“During the first two weeks of Lent, our different parishes held their annual collections for the Bishops’ Lenten Appeal, and a total amount of R3 867 651 was collected, which is 39% of what was collected last year,” according to Br Ashley Tillek OFM, director of the Bishops’ Lenten Appeal.
While the collected funds will leave Lenten Appeal with a deficit of more than R200 000 once these are allocated, Br Tillek believed the total sum collected reflects people’s generosity in tough times.
“I would say we are most blessed by [the] support shown to the poor and needy and the works of the Church during these difficult days,” Br Tillek said.
The figure of nearly R3,9 million reflects the accounts as of August 26.
The Lenten Appeal has issued an account of collections received per diocese. Certain decreases over the previous year are so low as to suggest that some dioceses still have to transfer their raised funds.
This would not be unusual. An outlier on the list is Dundee, whose figures reflect a decrease of only 5% over 2019.
This was due to “previously collected but unpaid amounts that were found and honestly paid”, Bishop Graham Rose told The Southern Cross.
The largest amount was collected by the archdiocese of Cape Town (R801 572, or 48% of last year’s collection), followed by Johannesburg (R652 472 or 37%), Durban (R565 910 or 42%), Pretoria (R271 805 or 43%) and Port Elizabeth (R251 098 or 50%).
In the coming financial year, the funds are being allocated in four main areas:
Seminarian education and support, vocation programmes, and permanent diaconate programmes (R1,9 million); diocesan development programmes that assist parishes with specific projects (R1,07 million); Lenten Appeal administrative and promotional costs (R707 660); and Catholic charities, parish subsidies and other charitable works (R450 000).
“Unfortunately this will leave us with a deficit of R224 425,” Br Tillek noted.
He said this has been brought to the attention of diocesan Lenten Appeal directors in Zoom meetings, with the request that “if there was any more money outstanding, that this should be forwarded to the bishops’ conference as soon as possible”, he said.
In 2019, Lenten Appeal raised just over R9,8 million, around R800 000 over the preceding year.
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