Philippines: Move Towards Voluntary Church Contributions

Philippines: Move Towards Voluntary Church Contributions

The Catholic Church in the Philippines is about to celebrate its Fifth Century. In connection with this historic event, more and more bishops of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines are adopting the “No Fixed Fee Policy for the Celebration of Sacraments”. This means that dioceses where this policy is applied parishes can no longer ask for a fixed fee for the celebration of sacraments. This means that parishioners cannot be obliged to pay but can only be encouraged to give or to donate according to their generosity and love for their church to receive the sacraments. Therefore, no fixed fee system, only donations and voluntary contributions.

I say that it is a good move of the CBCP. However, this will have a big impact on the programs, projects, and paid personnel in the parishes affected by this new policy.

In consultation with my Parish Finance Council and Parish Pastoral Council chairpersons, the Parish of Santa Teresa de Avila in Casay, Anini-y, Antique began to experiment with this policy. (The Diocese of San José de Antique has not adopted this policy yet). The purpose of the experiment is to make a comparative study of the impact of this policy of the CBCP on the life and the missionary activities in our Mill Hill Missionary parishes in the Philippines, particularly in Casay. This experimentation stage aims to inculcate and generate generosity or what I call, “the giving-culture” among our parishioners for the continuation of our parish services and missionary works. This experimentation also aims to strengthen the Christian Stewardship Spirituality or pledge system in Casay parish. In our local language here in Antique we have the word “gugma” which means love. Through the use of this local word, this experimentation will embrace this mantra: Giving Unites God and MAnkind (GUGMA).

This experimentation is truly a bold development in doing mission in the oldest existing MHM parish in the Philippines and maybe in the whole of the MHM world (from 1906 to 2019). I and our parishioners in Casay put our trust in divine providence and in God who said “I know what you need even before asking for it.” God bless us all.

Mario Dimapilis mhm

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