Every Sunday, the collection basket passes between the ranks at the time of the offertory. Small change, notes or contactless card swipe, the question of the right amount invariably arises. Is this really the right way to approach this above all liturgical gesture?
As is often the case in matters of money, the Church is cautious and more suggestive than directive when it comes to giving a fair amount to give during the Sunday collection. The different dioceses of France indicate a minimum of 2 euros for the offering of each faithful when preparing donations at mass. This is a figure calculated based on the needs of the parishes, since quests make them work. Whoever wants can of course give more!
The quest is in fact one of the financial resources of the Church, especially in France where secularism prevents public funding for worship. It is added to the occasional, linked to the celebration of the sacraments, to mass offerings and to the denarius, which is a part of the income given to participate concretely in the life of the community as indicated in the fifth and last commandment of the Church. On a national scale, the collection thus constitutes 23% of the income of the Catholic Church and its second largest resource. Moreover, certain communities with few donors to the denier because they lack parishioners, such as sanctuaries, collect at all masses to balance this lack.
Different types of donation
Some people tend to confuse these different types of donation. However, two details should arouse curiosity: the quest is always at the heart of the mass; there is no tax receipt. There is only one important reason for this: this gesture, which may seem trivial, is ritual and liturgical. While the bread and wine are brought to the altar before the sacrifice , the faithful collect from the assembly the money that everyone is willing to give. The missal specifies that this can be “other donations for the benefit of the poor or the Church” (§ 73) but this is quite rare in France today. Through this very material participation, everyone is invited to give themselves entirely, as the name given to this liturgical moment, the “offertory”, suggests.
Christ, whose supreme offering is about to be actualized on the altar, actually expects from us only a response of love which passes through the conscience and the will to entrust our whole life to him, as he invites us to do. the apostle Paul ( 2 Cor 8:9 ):
You know in fact the generous gift of our Lord JesusChrist: he who is rich, he made himself poor for your sake, so that you might become rich through his poverty.
Understood in this way, the quest takes on a whole new dimension, and the question of the amount becomes almost relative. It is about giving nothing less than one’s life in response to the eternal one promised by the resurrection. Is it worth 2 euros? 5 euros? 20 euros ? It’s up to everyone to judge.