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Making the Offertory Collection Meaningful


Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
Los Angeles, California
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
United States

More Info

For more information, email Msgr. Kevin Kostelnik.

Slowing down the offertory collection makes parishioners more aware of its meaning and increases donations.

"Slowing down the offertory process and placing emphasis on preparing our gifts has made a big impact upon the people. It has also increased the offertory collection by 10% to 15%, depending upon the time of the year."

Cardinal Roger Mahony
Archbishop of Los Angeles

The need it meets

For some reason, we have never given our people at Sunday Mass the opportunity to really prepare their offertory gift each week. Rather, after the Prayer of the Faithful, everyone sits down and here come the ushers. The offertory collection is hurried and almost secondary to the offertory at the altar.

Where it came from

The one who helped all of us see the need to slow down the people's participation in the offertory was Msgr. Kevin Kostelnik, the pastor of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles. He and the Liturgy Team then worked out the details.

How it works

At the end of the Prayer of the Faithful, the celebrant reads a brief two or three sentences linking something in that Sunday's Scriptures to preparing our gift at the offertory. We ask the people to recall the blessings of the past week as they prepare their gift.

The ushers come down and stand at their respective places, facing the people who are quietly preparing their gift. We give them a full minute of silence.

Then, the celebrant stands and invites the ushers to pass the baskets "to receive our holy offerings." The celebrant walks over to put his gift in the basket, and is then seated while the offertory collection is taken up.

No music or songs take place at this time.

Once the small baskets have been emptied into larger baskets--and there are 5 of these at the Cathedral--the ushers bring those forward.

Only then are the gifts of bread and wine brought up, and any music or hymns begun.

This entire process adds about five minutes to the overall offertory, but it is time well spent.

The results

The offertory process has become a prayerful experience for our people, rather than just the opportunity for people to reach for a spare dollar. The spirituality of the offertory now includes the people vividly.

The collection itself has gone up 10% to 15%.

Key elements

The key is that the offerings of our people are not incidental to the entire offertory process. Rather, they are essential to making the offertory meaningful.

Training the ushers is essential. This system has to be practiced before it is implemented.

Do not use baskets with long handles! Baskets to receive our holy offerings need to be passed by hand from one believer to the next so that the sense of the People of God participating in the offertory is more readily experienced.

Take the time to make the people a part of the offertory process.

No music or other distractions during this process. The silence is powerful.

How to implement it

Let God's grace work during the offertory process and you will see amazing spiritual and pastoral results!

Msgr. Kevin Kostelnik is pastor of Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

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