At the same time the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the health of the faithful of the Diocese, it is also having a serious impact in another area as well – the financial well-being of parishes and diocesan ministries.

“With the unavoidable cancellation of public Masses and other church services comes the absence of offertory collections, and as such, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., has authorized a COVID-19 Emergency Fund,” according to a statement on the Diocese of Trenton website.

“Acknowledging that many of our families face financial strain at this time, we ask those who are able, to please remember your ‘family in faith’ by making a safe and convenient online offering to ‘Pass the Basket’ – a collection for the Diocese’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund,” the statement read.

The emergency fund invites faithful to consider making a safe and convenient online offering at https://dioceseoftrenton.org/covid-19-emergency-fund. The two areas of need for which proceeds from the fund can be directed are Parish Offertory Continuity and Diocesan Operations and Ministry Needs.

The diocesan statement indicated that for parishes, which normally rely on parishioners’ weekly offertory contributions, the fund will help to cover expenses such as those related to ministry, utilities, maintenance, staffing, community outreach programs and other pressing needs. For parishes with established, e-giving programs, parishioners may make their offering via their parish’s website, or they can do so by filling out the form on the emergency fund website. The designated parishes will receive 100 percent of the funds; there are no administrative fees charged using this online method.

Regarding Diocesan Operations and Ministry Needs, the statement also said that funds would be used to support the work of the Diocese which, in turn, supports parish life and the practice of faith among its people. In a time when Masses and major events are canceled, diocesan offices and ministries work to assist Bishop O’Connell as he ministers to his flock via online messages, videos and livestreamed Masses. Chancery operations are also being carefully managed to ensure uninterrupted health coverage for all parish, Catholic school and diocesan employees.

The statement also noted that along with the impact COVID-19 has had on parishes and diocesan ministries, it has also had an effect on social service agencies across the Diocese and the resources they need to continue ministering to those they serve. Faithful can learn more about social outreach efforts and consider making a donation by visiting the following online resources:

Report on social service agencies working to overcome COVID-19 impact

dioceseoftrenton.org/catholic-social-services

www.catholiccharitiestrenton.org