Usage of the Offertory Money

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Are there guidelines/rules as to the usage of money collected during the offertory at mass? For my brother’s graduation mass (a weekday special mass), a teacher has decided that the collection will go to the Humane Society. Are there guidelines or rules that state what types of groups may receive the collection money? Thanks much!
Im under the impression that the 1st collection goes towards the running of the Parish, such as electricity bills, bank loans etc.
The 2nd one goes towards the Priests, as a sort of pay packet, and this one never seems to be as much in total.
Is this right ?
Is it correct to have 2 collections? And when in the Mass should they be?
I know some Sundays we do have “extraordinary” collections and off the top of my head I cant think of what they are, but I think they are always an Archdiocese directive, so every Parish on that day collects a special amount for something ( e.g East Timor crisis )

Hope the more knowledgable of you out there can help us?

Love Kellie
I am completely unhelpful as to the original question, but at my parish the second collection (which is very rare, possibly only 3-4 times a year) is after Communion.

What authority does a teacher have to say where the Church money goes?

I think one would have to announce that the collection was being donated to a charity instead of going to the Church to avoid the issue of fraud.

Second collectinos usually involve a special charity, or a dioceasen effort… If we have 5 Sundays in a month , we have second collection goes to our Ladies of charity to distribute to the poor.
A clarification, the graduation mass being discussed is not a regular Sunday mass, but rather a Wednesday night special mass. I am not sure if that makes a difference in the rules (if there are any). Thanks!
The offeratory is used to “pay the bills,” including maintenance, utilities, salaries of the priests and lay employees, liturgical costs (vestments, lectionaries, candles, etc), real estate taxes on the rectory, a subsidy of the cost of a parish school or CCD program, or whatever bills need to be paid.

Throughout the year parishes will participate in Diocesan (e.g. for the local seminary) and Extra-Diocesan (e.g. Peter’s Pence) collections. Sometimes these are solicited as a second collection, other times it’s merely a second envelope in the same collection.

Sometimes a parish will have a second collection towards a stated goal: retiring the parish debt, paying the heating bill in winter or air-conditioning bill in the summer, or as a collection for a specific charity. Once a month our parish has a special collection for a crisis pregnancy home. I think that is immensely preferable to a humane shelter, but, knowing students, wonder perhaps if they selected the charity.

IRS regularions would dictate that the charity would have to be a recognized not-for-profit organization, but the Humane Society would qualify in that regard.

Typically the “poor box” is used to help the poor. We sometimes think this applies only to homeless people in the nearest urban area, but even an affluent parish may have parishioners who have fallen on rough times due to unemployment or catastrophic medical bills. Sometimes a small, temporary stipend can be a lifesaver.

Under Canon Law, you’re entitled to receive at least an annual financial report from your parish, detailing where the money came from and how it was spent.
Paul W:
The offeratory is used to “pay the bills,” including maintenance, utilities, salaries of the priests and lay employees, liturgical costs (vestments, lectionaries, candles, etc), real estate taxes on the rectory, a subsidy of the cost of a parish school or CCD program, or whatever bills need to be paid.QUOTE]

In the Arcdiocese of New Orleans all parishes have an acessement according to the size of the parish and the number of parishoners. Plus it is use for the running of the parish.
But are there guidelines or prohibited uses for funds donated at Mass? I ask this because I know a parish that contributes to a “non denominational youth ministry”–a use of Mass donations which seems quite inappropriate to me.
The Pastor (or Parish Administrator) is given a wide latitude in making donations to other organizations. However, there may be a Finance Committee to advise the Pastor, and typically the diocese will perform an occassional internal audit.

If you have concerns, you should contact the Finance Committee, Pastor and/or Parish Administrator. As a member of my parish Finance Committee, I welcome such questions as a chance to clear up any misunderstandings. (The recommendations we make to the Pastor are thoughtfully and prayerfully considered based on diverse life and career experiences.) If you get nowhere, then contact Parish Financial Services at the diocese.

Donating to a non-denominational youth ministry is a definite gray area. If it is truly non-denominational the Pastor may feel that it’s more prudent to support that program than to start, and manage, a Parish program. As long as the ministry is not anti-Catholic, some good is being provided to the parish teens, at a minimal use of resources (time, talent and treasure.)

If you’re that dead set against it, are you willing to run a separate youth ministry in that parish, or can you find someone else who is qualified? That is definitely part of the equation.
Paul W–Thanks for your perspective. That was pretty much what I had come to believe was the situation–that the practice was not illegal but less than ideal. Whether Young Life is truly a non-denominational youth group is a big question. After doing much research, I have concluded that it is an evangelical Protestant youth ministry and quite inappropriate for Catholic youth. I view it as the “Pied Piper of Hamelin”–luring our youth away from our faith. Yet so many Catholic families think it is totally harmless. So that is the basis of my mounting concern and why I question using offertory money for that purpose. Clearly, a Catholic youth ministry is the way to go. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of effort to change the status quo and to convince people to put out the energy to do something different–especially when they are satisfied with the fun and games and “lite” religion offered by the non-denominational youth group.
I work as an Assistant Secretary at a small parish in the Diocese Ft. Worth Texas. The second collection is usually one that has been set down by the United States Bishops Conference (which are actually quite a few, and if you get envelopes they are usually the second collection ones). With a few extras like the local Pregnancy Aid Center, Building Fund. The regular collections do go toward running the parish and all the expenses that entails, including a Diocesan Tax which helps the Diocese to run. In the Diocese of Ft. Worth, the priests are only paid once a month, and that does come out of the regular collection. As far as a seperate Mass for special occasions, that collection (if one is taken) usually will be like a regular collection, however, once in a while the group may choose a particular charity that they wish to sponosor (this at least in our parish is always at the approval of the Priest). As far as the poor box goes, there is little money that is ever put in there, and we support many who are in need, not only in our parish, but in our surrounding area. Unless you actually work in the office, it is hard to imagine the number that call into the church for assistance in all areas of life, especially in the cold of winter and heat of summer. Our church as I believe all church’s have a budget that should be/is approved by the Parish Finance Committee. At our church this is posted once a year, with copies available to anyone who would like to come by the office to look at it, recommendations are always welcome. I would have to agree that a Humane Society is a very questionably charity, since there are so many people who are in need (but that is my opinioin). At least in our office we try very hard to be conscientious in how we spend the donations that are graciously given to our church.
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