This partial screenshot of the archdiocese’s new parish contributions web page, www. archomaha.org/offertory, shows how visitors can direct their donations to specific parishes. It also has an option for Spanish-language visitors. ARCHDIOCESE OF OMAHA

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Archdiocesan portal helps parishes collect offertory contributions

With Catholics unable to attend weekend Masses due to coronavirus restrictions, some parishes could quickly face a large drop-off in offertory contributions. A financial crisis could easily ensue, as expenses continue to pile up.

“Parishes rely on that weekly offertory and … to have the rug pulled out from underneath them is pretty frightening,” said Shannan Brommer, director of the Office of Stewardship and Development for the archdiocese. “So we had to figure out a way to replace that.”

To help especially those parishes without another solution for online giving, the Archdiocese of Omaha has come up with a way for contributions to parishes to be collected from its own site, archomaha.org.

Through the secure site, Catholics can make their donations in several ways, specifying one-time or recurring donations through automatic bank account withdrawals or credit card payments.

Many large parishes offer such options on their own websites. But for smaller, mostly rural parishes, the archdiocesan site may be the only electronic option.

Father Kevin Joyce, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Tekamah and Holy Family Parish in Decatur, said the giving portal will be a blessing for parishes such as his.

“Some of my parishioners are already using the archdiocesan site,” he said. He planned to initiate an email blast to spread the word.

“I had been asking people to put their contributions in the mailbox in front of the rectory, but we’re trying to use some of the other resources as well.”

“Many bigger parishes already have things like this in place with direct withdrawal, but out in some of the smaller, rural communities you wouldn’t always find that to be the case, so I think this will be helpful,” Father Joyce said.

Brommer acknowledged the financial uncertainty that many parishioners may be facing with the current coronavirus restrictions. “We want to be sensitive to the fact that people are fearful, sensing the ground is shifting underneath them.

“But we’re all in this together, so we hope those of us who can continue to give, … it’s that much more imperative that we do so,” she said. “We’re surrounded by people who live as Christian stewards and recognize that everything they have is a gift from God and, that our faith is going to carry us through.”

To make a contribution, go to archomaha.org/offertory/.