By Cian Molloy - 24 November, 2019
Today is Share Sunday in the Dublin Archdiocese when Archbishop Diarmuid Martin publishes his annual financial reports.
According to this year’s report, in 2018, 191 of Dublin’s parishes had a combined total income of €35.6m. This is higher than the total income of €29.7m in 2017. Part of the increase in income is due to €2.6m in proceeds from the sale of seven buildings, mainly former parochial houses.
Another factor that increased income and outgoings was the World Meeting of Families 2018, which was hosted by the Dublin Archdiocese.
The financial figures do not include six parishes in the diocese that are run by religious congregations.
In non-financial matters, statistics for all 197 parishes are published, revealing that in Dublin last year: there were 13,234 Baptisms, 15,293 young people confirmed and 1,750 couples married in Church ceremonies. Funeral ministry teams ministered to the families of 8,078 people who died last year.
As would expect on a day named ‘Share Sunday’, a large emphasis is placed on the contribution that Dubliners make to the Share Fund, which has evolved from a social solidarity fund to a wider, more general source of revenue. In 2018, the Share Fund had an income of €7.18m and an expenditure of €7.79m, leaving it with a deficit for the financial year of €616,000.
The parish that contributed most to the Share Fund last year was Donnybrook where the collection raised €95,691. The other biggest contributing parishes were: Foxrock (€95,249), Mount Merrion (€90,320), Crumlin (€77,938), Lucan (€76,022), Larkhill/Whitehall (€73,515), Rathfarnham (€62,789) and Sutton €60,585. The smallest Share collections were in Blakestown (€550), Francis Street (€1,112) and Hollywood in West Wicklow (€2,275).
Established during the 1970s, when the Dublin Diocese was rapidly expanding and there was an urgent need for new churches and schools, the Share Fund is financed by a second church plate collection that takes place in Dublin diocesan churches nearly every week. On those exceptional occasions, when the funding from the second weekly church plate collection does not go to Share, the money goes to one of the papal charities or towards an emergency disaster appeal.
In recent years, a portion of the Share Fund has gone towards financing central diocesan services including: a liturgy resource centre, an office for evangelisation and ecumenism, an office of catechetical formation, an education secretariat, a finance secretariat, an office for financial development, a child safeguarding and protection service, a chancellery to deal with matters of Canon Law, and office for clergy, a vocations office, the permanent diaconate, a human resources department and a diocesan archive.
Three major diocesan charities – the Lourdes Pilgrimage, Crosscare and Accord – operate as separate registered charities and file their financial statements separately to the diocese.
Thanking his flock for their continued support, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin says that one area that will need an increase in funding is the training programmes operated by the Dublin Liturgy Resource Centre, which is already helping lay people take a greater role in Baptism ministry and in Funeral ministry.
“I am encouraged by the growing participation of lay people in the mission of the Church of Jesus Christ. I see in this a renewed sense of sharing and communion,” said Dr Martin. “You, the people of the diocese have been very generous over these years in supporting Share even at moments of serious economic difficulties for families and communities. I thank you for that generosity and I encourage you to continue in the coming year in the support you have given to Share.”