A few weeks into the pandemic last March, Fr. Fabian Marquez, pastor of El Buen Pastor Mission in the Sparks Colonia of El Paso, in the heart of one of the poorest neighborhoods in Texas, counted the weekly collection from the parish. The grand total was $45.
During a pre-pandemic weekend, the parish offertory would run between $800 to $2,000 each week.
"When we had $2,200, we were rich," Marquez told NCR, who noted that the parish typically pulled in another thousand dollars each weekend from food sales in the parish kitchen after Masses.
During the early months of the pandemic, weekly financial contributions never exceeded $110.
A survey commissioned last fall by the Catholic Extension, which works to support Catholic communities in the poorest regions of the country, found that 13 of those dioceses saw an overall parish collection drop between 50-90%. Another 17 dioceses saw overall parish collections drop between 30-49% during the pandemic and more than 1,000 Catholic parishes in those dioceses said they would need financial assistance this year to be able to maintain basic ministry functions.
- Follow along with all of NCR's coverage of one year into coronavirus here.
Thomas P. Doyle recently watched the documentary "Sipe: Sex, Lies, and the Priesthood," with a mix of very powerful emotions, he writes in a commentary for NCR.
"Richard and I go back to the earliest years of the clergy abuse phenomenon," Doyle writes. "From the day we first met something clicked between us, and our collaboration grew into a deep and loving bond that the word 'friendship' can't really capture."
"The documentary accurately showed Richard as a loving and gentle person who attracted people to him, especially people who were troubled, precisely because the empathy he shared was real, and because it was real it transcended the barriers of fear so many have when they seek help," Doyle continues. "He connected with people in a way I have never seen in anyone else."
- At Earthbeat,
despite efforts at isolation, Native Americans have died of COVID-19 at
more than twice the rate of white Americans, in communities already
suffering from high rates of chronic illnesses and limited access to
safe water and fresh food.
- At Global Sisters Report, read a Q&A with Mercy Sr. Maryanne Loughry, a psychologist who has led well-being trainings throughout the world and also has been a sought-out figure to conduct webinars on coping during the pandemic.