We rely on your generous support to keep our church running. But giving is about more than just keeping a building open.
For Catholics, our charitable giving is an act of worship. It is a response to God’s own generosity, and an acknowledgment that all that is good comes to us ultimately from him. When we give to the Church, we are paying God back from what is already his.
How much we give is a matter for our own personal prayer and reflection. But the scriptures and the Church’s teaching give us an idea of what this should look like.
“Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” (1 Chron. 29:14)
Our giving should reflect not only our willingness to give, but also our ability to give. Individual circumstances differ significantly, so our individual gifts will too. A starting point when reflecting on our Christian responsibility to support the Church is to give based on what we ourselves receive from God. That means we should aim to give in proportion to our income. In the scriptures, the people of Israel were instructed to tithe — to return to God 10% of their income — a practice adopted in the early Church.
“The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to their own abilities.” (The Catechism 2043)
For many of us, this might be a new way of thinking about our giving. If this is something we are still working towards, we might begin instead by giving a fixed proportion of our disposable income each month.
We also need to take into account our other charitable giving. The Church shouldn’t be our only beneficiary. One target to aim for might be to give 5% of our income to the Church and a similar amount to other charities and those in need.
Transforming our thinking about how we give to the Church is important. It should be a grateful acknowledgment to God for all the good things he has given to us, and also a contribution to the mission of spreading his Kingdom. As St Paul reminds us, “Each person should give what they have decided in their heart to give, not reluctantly nor under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9:7)
Approaching giving in this way means that the Church has a duty to use the gifts of the faithful responsibly. About 23% of the Oratory’s income goes towards the running of the house. That’s about £180 a week from the weekly collection. Most of the donations we receive are used to fund our liturgical and pastoral work. Other major expenses include things like heating, lighting and insurance. And of course, historic buildings such as our church also need constant maintenance. We rely only on what we are given and what we raise through our own fundraising efforts — we don’t receive any support from higher up in the Church.
Read more about how to give.