letter from

Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell 

Dear Parishioner,

In the last fifteen months, we have been unable to do the things we normally do to express our faith and our solidarity with each other. This is not to say that the life of prayer and charity have ceased, but life's usual patterns have been disrupted, as have the deep practices that nourish our faith, empower our social solidarity, and animate the mission of the Church towards the poor and disadvantaged. Along with the countries of the developed world, our country has been fortunate that people have been supported during the significant economic upheaval and hardship of the pandemic. Even in our grief and loss, we have much to be thankful for.

Communities and parishes have shown resilience and imagination in their responses to the challenges of the pandemic. For many this has revealed new ways of collaboration and involvement. We also have to acknowledge that certain aspects of Church life have been severely impacted. One of these is parish finances, and while we eagerly long for a return to the life that we knew, we also have to act to ensure that our parishes have the financial minimum they need to survive.

The necessary restriction of public worship has profoundly affected the two essential Sunday Mass collections on which parish funds depend. The first collection-as you know-supports clergy ministering throughout the diocese as well as sick and retired priests and priests working in other ministries throughout the diocese. The second collection-the 'Share' collection-supports diocesan services to parishes especially disadvantaged parishes. In the last financial year, the clergy collection decreased by 54% and the 'Share' collection decreased by 65%. This year the situation is even more grave-with a decrease of 80% and 86% respectively for the first quarter (January to March 2021

That this would have happened, given the character of the necessary lockdowns, is not surprising. I am grateful to all who have continued to give so generously in the past 15 months.

This generosity cannot be expected to address the deeper financial challenges which the Archdiocese faces. I have therefore approved the proposal to hold a new Summer Dues collection to support priests of the diocese. This initiative will follow the pattern of the Christmas and Easter dues collections giving parishioners an opportunity to contribute to the income that supports priests.

The Summer Offering collection will be launched on the weekend of the 20th June. In making this appeal, I ask you to remember that the greatest resource of the Church is its people-both laity and clergy -working hand-in-hand. The age profile of the priest is rapidly increasing, and there are few vocations to priesthood and religious life. Yet the priests we have in the diocese continue to serve quietly week-in-week-out while more is being asked of fewer and fewer. The ministry and mission of our Church cannot continue without this humble, generous service.

I thank you for continuing to support our parishes and the clergy who work among you. Your
generosity to this new initiative of Summer Dues will provide much needed practical and moral support for priests working quietly and effectively at the heart of every local community of faith.

While great strides have been made in getting the virus under control, there is still a way to go before our country and other nations are out of the woods. We are facing the summer with its the brighter mornings and long evenings. May the change of pace that summer brings provide a break from the darkness of the difficult winter we have endured. May the Holy Spirit lift our hearts, and renew our hope so that in 'our common home' we may share the life for which God created us (see Gen 1:3 1,2:18, and John 10:10)

Dermot Farrell 
Archbishop of Dublin

New Summer Dues

to support Common Fund

Dear Parishioner,

The last year has been a very strange one and much of what we have taken for granted in the past, has changed. One of the areas where the impact of lower numbers and ongoing months of Church closures has had an effect, is on the first collection which supports the priests of the Parish and the sick and retired priests of the Diocese.

We have been very grateful for your support both online and by putting your offerings in the safe in the Church. This, with your commitment to the Christmas and Easter Dues, has enabled the Common Fund to support the Priests here and in other Parishes.

However, the Common Fund, which is made up of the first collection, Christmas and Easter dues, is at an all-time low and we need to build it up. We are introducing 'Summer Dues' to help with this. It will be taken in the same way as the Christmas and Easter Dues and the Parish will benefit from the tax relief scheme on this contribution.

We are very aware that everyone's situation has changed and we appreciate all your support. If you are able to support this new 'Summer Dues' collection, we and the other priests in the Diocese would be very grateful. Envelopes will be available at the back of the church next Sunday 20th June.

We hope that you get to enjoy some holiday time over the summer and meet up with family and friends.

We wish you every blessing and pray that things return to some sense of normality this year.