Local churches hope to weather storm as financial sources dry up


With a lack of in-person services, and with summer festivals being canceled, the Diocese could take a big financial hit

(WYTV) – Come summertime, many church parking lots are filled with carnival games, rides and food vendors. But this summer, many of those parking lots will be empty.

With festivals being canceled, fish fries being scratched and in-person services not being held, the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown could see a financial hit.

“Without fish fries or festivals or any type of gathering, churches are going to have to think creatively, think about how do we increase or maintain the budget without in-person gatherings,” said Rev. Msgr. John Zuraw, chancellor and vicar of Pastoral Education and Services at the Diocese of Youngstown.

The Diocese expects a percentage of its budget to come from fish fries and festivals. Zuraw said, however, that the numbers aren’t always what is expected.

“We can’t be dependent on it because we realize we could have a weekend festival, but it rains the entire weekend,” he said.

The money made is more of like an added bonus for most parishes.

“We know with our own family lives, we have to budget with what we have and anything extra that comes in that helps maintaining either our homes or our buildings,” he said.

Parishes also rely on churchgoers to contribute through envelopes during weekly collections, but those donations have been affected because there are no in-person services.

“Are we at the level of giving today as we were six weeks ago? The answer is no,” Zuraw said.

But Zuraw says people are still finding ways to give. Parishioners are able to donate online, mail in an envelope or even drop it off at the church.

“Over the last six weeks, we’ve noticed there’s been a spike in online giving, and hopefully, that trend continues,” he said.

Sixty of the 87 parishes have also been approved for the Cares Act PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) funding. The money will be used to help cover parish and school employees who’ve been furloughed.

The PPP funding is intended to provide loans to businesses to guarantee eight weeks of payroll and other costs to help those businesses remain viable and allow their workers to pay their bills.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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