Thanks to the love and support of St. Justin the Martyr parishioners, the Toms River parish has raised more than $23,000 through the Diocese's emergency fund. Father Mark Kreder, seen in this 2017 photo, says his parishioners are so generous, all he had to do was ask. John Blaine file photo
Thanks to the love and support of St. Justin the Martyr parishioners, the Toms River parish has raised more than $23,000 through the Diocese's emergency fund. Father Mark Kreder, seen in this 2017 photo, says his parishioners are so generous, all he had to do was ask. John Blaine file photo

Father Mark Kreder kept things simple when he began encouraging donations through the Diocese’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund back in March.

All he did was ask.

Now, St. Justin the Martyr Parish, Toms River, has raised more than $23,000 – simply through the pastor’s weekly reminder from the pulpit, bulletin and website homepage.

“These are challenging times for all of us,” reads a message from Father Kreder that’s been circulating since the pandemic began. “This crisis has hit many of us hard, and our parish is no different. I am most grateful to all who have continued to mail in their weekly offerings or donated online.” 

Recognizing the impact COVID-19 would have on the financial well-being of parishes and diocesan ministries, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., authorized a COVID-19 Emergency Fund in late March. Since that time, donations have been submitted and directed to two areas of need: Parish Offertory Continuity, and Diocesan Operations and Ministry Needs.

In mid-August, the diocesan Department of Development reported that the COVID-19 Emergency Fund received $62,294.30 from donors, with $41,130 directed to 51 different parishes. 

Explaining that “collections are vital to our existence as a parish,” Father Kreder continues to encourage the parishioners to donate “if your circumstances permit.”

In the meantime, the faithful continue to follow the donation model that works best for them: mail, collection hoppers in the parish hall and of course, “Passing the Basket” at dioceseoftrenton.org/covid-19-emergency-fund.