Why is my pastor always asking me for money?

All of us have heard this question and may even have voiced it ourselves. There are at least three reasons why pastors ask the people at Mass for their participation and their stewardship.

why is my pastor always asking me for money?

Reason #1 – Funds are required to support activities

The first reason is that the Church is like any other active organization, and needs funds to carry out the Mission of the Church. Unlike some other organizations, it is a non-profit and relies on volunteers and donations/gifts.

Reason #2 – Asking people also informs them of activities

The second is that the process of asking gives the pastor an opportunity to inform the people about the parish’s ministries and services, the needs and services of the Diocese, and the needs of the universal Church.

Reason #3 – Provides people an opportunity to participate

The third reason is that it provides the people opportunities to participate and to exercise their own stewardship.

What does the Church do with all that money?

Today, a large percentage of people (particularly in the U.S.A.) receive their medical care at a Catholic hospital. The Church teaches 3 million students a day in its
– 250+ Catholic Colleges and Universities
– 1200+ Catholic high schools
– 5000+ Catholic grade schools.

Every day, the Church feeds, clothes, shelters and educates more people than probably any other organization in the world.

The Church itself is very large; over 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. It requires funds for its sustenance and to continue its broad array of ministry and services, here in the Diocese of Santa Rosa, throughout the United States, and around the world.

What many of us don’t pause to consider or realize is that the money to fund all these works of the Church must come from the faithful in the parishes, and the pastor must be the one who makes the request. The most opportune time and place to make those requests are at Mass on Sunday.

Our service goes beyond our parish to serve the Church

Our pastors, men who were drawn to their calling, their vocation, by their desire to serve God and God’s people, are the administrators of parishes, missions, schools and other activities.

We ask our faithful to fund the parish and the universal Church on an “as-required” basis, and it is the pastor who is most often called upon to make the request.

Pastors must ask for money to meet the needs of:
– The parish
– The school if the parish has one (typically, the “first” collection)
– The community projects such as homeless services, food kitchens, clothing drives, etc., and to meet the needs of the diocese (e.g., the Annual Ministry Appeal).

Parishes hold regular second collections for the special needs of the parish such as a building fund to maintain the physical property, for the St. Vincent de Paul Society that provides parish outreach to the less fortunate, or to support the activities of a school.

In addition to the Annual Ministry Appeal, the bishops of our country, as a group, ask every diocese and parish to support a list of 12 special collections each year.

When large tragedies strike anywhere in the world (e.g., an earthquake in Chile, a typhoon in the Philippines, a famine in Africa, or a fire in Lake County) we take up special collections to help meet the needs in the stricken area. Infrequently, we allow some other deserving group to ask our parishioners for help, and often, the pastor makes the request for that outside group.

Donor fatigue is a reality. So is priest fatigue!

Those of us who are parishioners can feel “donor fatigue.” We are tired of giving, and we are tired of being asked to give. We, unfortunately, focus our discontent on the pastor who makes these requests.

We think he asks too often and for too much. Often, we do not think about it from the pastor’s perspective – a man who suffers from “asking fatigue.” They are more tired of asking than we are being asked.

Our shared responsibility as Catholics in a Universal Church

In the final analysis, this process is a shared responsibility. The pastor must ask because, in addition to his other responsibilities, he is the administrator of the temporal activities of the parish. We should respond as our capability allows because our baptism calls us to be disciples of Christ, and one responsibility of a disciple is to act as good stewards of all the gifts God has entrusted to us.

The next time our pastor asks us for a donation, let’s consider what has been outlined above and give thanks to God that we have a leader who is willing to encourage us in the stewardship of our parish community. Maybe such consideration will also encourage us to be even more generous as we respond to the requests!

The article was written by Deacon John Norris from the Diocese of Santa Rosa, California. He is the Diocesan Director of Development. You can contact Deacon John via email at jnorris@srdiocese.org

Question: What do you think about how often your pastor asks for money?

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  • Larry Bud

    The parishes in my area have no activities. Especially not the kinds of social activities that (as recently as a generation ago) brought the parish family together, creating a social fabric that had endured almost forever. No, that kind of stuff died out in the last couple of generations.

    Why am I harping on that point? Because these same parishes now have bloated staffs of lay employees. Employees who are paid to do much of the work that our ancestors did for their parishes on a volunteer basis. Work which provided more opportunity for parishioners to engage socially with each other, and which allowed children to learn the innate value of volunteering. it’s another aspect of parish social life that has died. Parishes and dioceses already have plenty of money, as evidenced by the number of superfluous employees on their payrolls.

    I have plenty of time that I can donate to my parish but they want my money instead, to pay others to do what I’d gladly do for free. Sorry, no.

    And then there’s the new industry of “Catholic media” which operates outside of Church authority, and also has its hand out for money constantly.

    I disagree with the endorser Miss Fullwiler who says your fundraising services are “very, very, very much needed”. There’s so much money sloshing around in the official Church and in its unofficial “apostolates” and “institutes” that it’s almost scandalous.

    I reject your premise.

    • Jenn Erich

      You sound like the chronic complainers that plague my parish. Some people are just grumpy all the time, I guess, God and His Blessed Mother know they are everywhere! I’m sorry you’re so disgruntled. All due respect, but you are wrong about the Church and dead wrong about Catholic media. You speculate about the payroll and claim you would be happy to volunteer to do what they do – well, sir, then do so! Talk to your pastor, offer your services, your time, your talent, your treasure, all that God has given you. I simply do not believe your pastor told you he only wants your money. Unless there is another reason he does not want or need your help. I reject your premise.

      • Larry Bud

        Wow. I’m neither a “complainer” nor “grumpy” nor “disgruntled”. Just making honest observations.

        You remind me of a story. A few years ago, when my company had a “help your community” day, I offered to bring in a team of volunteers to do whatever work might be needed. The response? A baffled look and a “Why? We have staff for that.”

        Or another time, I questioned why a different parish had a monthly “family mass” and dinner on Saturday evening, but never anything for the single adults. I offered to organize something. The response? A baffled look and a promise to send me an email that never came.

        That was the end of my attempts to volunteer. And no, our priests don’t beg for money. They seem to have plenty.

        That’s my premise and I’m sticking to it.

        • Jenn Erich

          Well, you sound very negative. Perhaps the fault is with the man who is your Pastor. If he is a a reasonable man, I do not know why a friendly and calm discussion with him would not help. And if it does not help, perhaps you should pray about joining a different parish that does welcome your assistance. I know at my parish, most ideas, presented in a positive way, are welcomed. I wish you blessings and hope you soon find a resolution.

          • Larry Bud

            I told you I wasn’t being negative. The problem is yours.

            Priests in my area parishes are changed every 5 or 6 years. I attend several of these parishes on a regular basis. “Pray about joining a different parish?” What does that even mean? As I wrote above, this situation has existed for over a full generation now. It’s not going to change.

          • Jenn Erich

            I’m not sure what you are trying to convey here. Your words come across very negatively. You don’t know what pray about joining a different parish means? I’m starting to think you’re a troll. If you are a follower of Jesus, go offer your services at a retirement home or hospital or prison. There are plenty of ways to live out Jesus’ commands even if your parish(es) are not up to your standards. May the Lord bless and keep you and inflame your heart with love and faith.

          • Larry Bud

            I go to a different parish almost every week, depending on my weekend activities. You suggest that I pray about that? Why? It’s probably time for this discussion to end. I don’t even think we belong to the same Church.

            These words left my fingers in a spriit of healthy discussion. You seem to choose to receive them with a negative bias. Again that’s not my problem.

            Your suggestions “for me” are all over the place. Become a deacon, volunteer at a prison. You have missed my fundamental message. I am a working person, I have a weekday job. It ought to be possible to contribute to my local parishes by attending and volunteering at weekend events just like my father and grandfather did. But parishes just don’t DO those kinds of things any more. They hire full-time employees to run things, and expect folks like me to simply pay them. Are you getting my message? I say no.

          • Jenn Erich

            I work Monday through Friday as well, an average of 60 hours a week, and I am involved in very many activities at my parish. I am a Roman Catholic in the Latin Rite. Your message is loud and clear: “agree with me fully or I’ll call you names, belittle your suggestions, and be generally unpleasant.” – that’s the message I got. If you approached your parish with the same attitude you have shown here, I can see why they did not want to deal with you. I no longer wish to either.

            I stand by my assessment. You are very negative and your dismissal of every suggestion is proof. My suggestions are other ways of doing God’s work. And I do not agree with the way you are painting all parishes with the same broad brush. It’s a complex issue.

            Someone wise once told me “if you meet a jerk in the morning, fine, you met a jerk. If you meet a jerk in the afternoon, you met another jerk. If you meet jerks all day long, YOU are the jerk.” From reviewing your comments here and on other sites, I suspect the problem is you, sir. You are the jerk I met today.

          • Larry Bud

            Say what? You have not tried to understand a single thing I wrote. I feel sorry for you.

            Please don’t reply again; you’d only dig yourself a deeper hole.

      • Jenn, thank you for your comments. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

    • Larry, thanks for your comment. Yes, I fully agree. Lots, if not most, of fundraisers focus on the money side of things. That has lead to the appeals before, during, and after Mass.

      Regarding your comment about my site, I thank you for sharing them. Though have you reviewed my site and reviewed my approach to fundraising?

      I don’t promote any of the things you mention. And if I haven’t made that clear, I hope you can share with me one or two ideas to make this known. Thank you, Larry.

      • Larry Bud

        What do you mean, you “don’t promote any of the things I mention”?

        What I am saying, is that if parishes and dioceses were more responsible with their money, by not hiring unnecessary employees to do the work that volunteers would eagerly do, that they should not claim to need even. more. money. all. the. time.

        I am opposed to bringing marketing and professional fundraising concepts into the Church. That’s not what we’re all about.

        • I agree with you. I think parishes and dioceses can make better efforts with their money. And the constant asking… it shouldn’t happen, especially before, during, and after Mass.

          With regards to marketing and fundraising concepts, I think the most prevalent ones that are used should not be.

          However, as fundraising, almsgiving, and stewardship (whichever word you wish to use) are part of Catholic life, I think looking for new and faith-based alternatives should be explored which is why I offer my thoughts on this website for everyone to consider. I don’t think all professional concepts are bad.

          What do think is possible? Throwing out anything that has the label marketing and fundraising? A new approach?

  • Jenn Erich

    I am happy to give and would be happy to give more if I had the means. Everything we have is a gift from God and we should share it. Jesus wants us to share our love, our light, our lives, so of course He wants us to share our money. Truly, giving is so much more rewarding, in all situations, than receiving! My parish runs bare bones, mostly volunteers, nothing like Mr. Larry Bud’s harping about.

    • Larry Bud

      Does your parish need or want the “professional fundraiser” services that the author provides? I hope not.

      • Jenn Erich

        I would defer to my Pastor, who is a very reasonable, practical, and holy man. We have a school and I know payroll can be a worry at times. The difficult thing about having volunteers do everything is that it is like herding cats. Some positions need to be paid positions for legal and other reasons. We have many volunteers working in various positions in our parish and some of them are the chronic complainers.

        Larry, have you thought about looking into becoming a Deacon so you can be more hands on? That is not a paid position but the Deacon can be instrumental in the running of the parish.