Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.42 20 Aug 2021


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One parish is looking to bin the collection basket and move to online donations.

QR code technology is being used in Termonfeckin, Co Louth to make giving easier.

Fr Paul Byrne told Lunchtime Live things are going well.

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"So far, so good - unfortunately we launched it just before Easter, so the church has been closed for the COVID restrictions until the end of June.

"The take up has been most recent, slow but steady - it's getting there."

Fr Byrne says the process is simple.

"Just show your phone camera to the code, which is on the noticeboard or in the parish newsletter, it'll immediately bring you through to the link on the parish website and you can make your donation."

'New ways to keep income coming in'

But he says this is not as much down to the pandemic, as just modernising.

"Parishes over the last few years have been looking at new ways at trying to keep income coming in.

"As we're becoming a cashless society, we were obviously aware of that reality and how it was impacting.

"Mobility issues: people are going to different churches for different mass times, but they still have a desire to give to their own parish.

"They're not able to throw coins, for example, into a basket in another parish - so this allows them the opportunity to continue to support their home parish".

A person donates money into a basket handed around at a Catholic church service in July 2019 A person donates money into a basket handed around at a Catholic church service in July 2019. Picture by: Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/DPA/PA Images

He says it is unlikely collection baskets will be back in pews anytime soon.

"With the COVID situation it'll be a while before the baskets will be passed around as they used to be.

"A lot of people are becoming more comfortable with the cashless payments, anyway.

"It's not so much the end of [baskets], but it'll be a while before we'll be passing them around again".

And Fr Byrne says quite a few parishes are already using alternatives.

"I'd say quite a few parishes have it.

"We have used the Payzone portal for online donations through our parish website - and they developed this QR code towards the end of last year.

"I think because of the COVID situation, plus the conversations we were having with our finance committee prior to COVID, we thought it was a good idea to go with".

Asked about mass attendance, he says inconsistency is the big challenge.

"We would have a fairly good attendance, all things considered, but I'd say we're still under 50% of what we would have had pre-COVID days.

"There's a lot of inconsistency in the messages that are coming out from Government and NPHET, really.

"We can have weddings at the moment with 100 guests in the church, but we can't have more than 50 people at a funeral.

"So the inconsistency is the challenge for all of us really on that one".

Main image: A woman has a QR code scanned on her smartphone in Germany in April 2021. Picture by: Daniel Reinhardt/DPA/PA Images

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Collection Baskets Covid Restrictions Fr Paul Byrne Louth Online Donations Payzone QR Codes Termonfeckin

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