Sometimes my articles are spiritual in nature. Over the past few weeks, they have been more strategic as I have related the results of the Disciple Maker Index questionnaire. This week I’d like to get a bit more practical.
This past week we had a guest speaker – Father Reginald, O.F. Cap. from the Diocese of Zanzibar. He spoke on behalf of his mission to the Diocese of Zanzibar (part of the country of Tanzania). We took up a second collection for his mission.
In recent months, many people asked me about the topic of “second collections.” Let me try to provide some clarifications about this topic. There are 30 “special” collections during the course of the year. Some are specific to the needs of St. Monica Parish (The St. Vincent Fund is one example). Some are sponsored by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Some involve speakers, like last week. Some do not. Some request an actual “second collection” after Communion. Some provide a special envelope that can be placed in the basket during the normal offertory collection.
Confused? I must admit that I have been too. Let me use this week to clarify the way we would like to do it at St. Monica.
Category 1: Actual Post-Communion “Second” Collections:
There are ONLY THREE second collections after Communion:
- The “Mission Co-op” is a collection sponsored by the Society of the Propagation of the Faith and coordinated in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by the Pontifical Mission Societies. This is in the summer usually in around August .
- ”Mission Sunday” is also sponsored by the Society of the Propagation of the Faith and also coordinated in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by the Pontifical Mission Societies. It is usually in October.
- The “St. Vincent” is a St. Monica Parish collection. It is always the last weekend of the month. These funds go into the St. Monica Foundation. They are used to support the poor, other charities, and emergency pastoral needs of parishioners and neighbors.
Category 2: “Special”Collections (NO post-Communion collection):
Many of the designated archdiocesan collections fall under this category. Examples would be Catholic Relief Services, St. Charles Seminary collection, Collection for Eastern Europe and the Retirement Fund for Religious (among others). These are often listed as “special collections.” They do not involve an actual second collection taken up after Communion. In all of these cases, a special envelope is provided to you along with your normal weekly envelopes. To contribute to any of these “special” collections, you place money in the special envelope. You then place the envelope in the collection basket during the normal offertory collection. You can also contribute privately on you own to any of these organizations/missions by sending funds directly to them.
Category 3: “Speakers”:
Almost every organization supported by these collections wishes to speak directly to parishioners. We typically do not do that.
There are several designated weekends when we are required by the archdiocese to have speakers. “Mission Co-op” (like last week) and “Mission Sunday” are two examples. There are some times when we wish to have a speaker talk about something that is of particular importance to St. Monica parish. We have heard from parishioners that some speakers are compelling. Some can be long-winded. Thus, we have elected to keep the number of post-Communion witnesses and appeals to a reasonable number.
The confusion occurs when you begin to combine any of the three categories above. Last week we had a special “second” collection – with a speaker. During our “Baby Bottle Drive,” we have had a speaker – but no “second” post-Communion collection. The funds are placed in the baby bottles.
So to RECAP:
- “Special Collection” DOES NOT mean a second, post-Communion collection.
- We only do “second, post-Communion” collections on three occasions: The last weekend of each month for St. Vincent, “Mission Co-op” weekend, and “Mission Sunday” weekend.
- For everything else, (known as “special collections”) there is a special envelope or a special method provided to support the organization/mission.
I shall be soon providing a chart that outlines these guidelines.
By the way, if you want to really get confused, let me try to explain the difference between check””World Mission Sunday” and “Mission Coop.” Both of these collections are managed by the “Pontifical Mission Societies”
- Typically occurs in the summer, usually in August.
- Typically a priest or religious sister, who works in that mission, speaks at Mass on behalf of that particular mission.
World Mission Sunday:
- Always occurs in October.
- There are 1,100 “mission dioceses” through the world.
- These dioceses are in Africa, India, South Asia, and rural former-Communist countries.
- Within each of these mission dioceses, there are projects that are run and financially supported by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and others from around the world.
- Some projects are associated with a particular diocese; some projects are associated with a country.
- The funds collected on World Mission Sunday do not go to a particular country, diocese of project. They go to the general funding of “World Mission Sunday.”
- The Pontifical Mission Society” often asks whether a parish would like to have a priest or religious sister, who works in the mission field, speak at Mass.
Here’s where it gets really confusing…
Some of the religious orders represented in “Mission Coop” are working in the same dioceses – and even on the same projects – that are funded by the “World Mission Sunday” collection.
Get it now? 😉