It’s never easy to ask for money, least of all in a time when many are coping with reduced income and loss of employment. I was a little hesitant to ask for your support for the Easter Dues recently. As I explained in the letter sent to all who are on the parish database, the Dues are transferred to the Common Fund, which relies for its income on the freely given offerings of the people of the 200 parishes of Dublin. Easter and Christmas Dues, the First Collection at Mass and the offerings at Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals are pooled and shared out between the priests. It is from the Common Fund that monies are allocated to the care of the sick and retired priests and it also supports the men in specialised ministries, both Fr Pat Mc Manus and I were supported from the Fund when we were acting as Diocesan Director of ACCORD in the past. The Dublin Diocese doesn’t have any money other than those contributions from which to support priests, we rely totally on the generosity of our parishioners. The reason for the pooling of the monies is to give a uniform basic stipend to priests regardless of the financial circumstances of their individual parishes. So when we ceased having Sunday Masses the income from the First Collection reduced to almost zero and then without many Easter Dues the surplus in the Fund was becoming depleted. The executive committee of the Fund recommended a 25% reduction in our monthly stipend, taking €625 from a Parish Priest’s income and €500 from a curate for the duration of the time that the collections are reduced. So in light of this reality I asked for your normal contribution, if possible, to the Easter Dues. Last year approximately €30,000 was contributed to the Easter Dues in Mount Merrion and, to date, this year the figure exceeds €33,000. So a huge thank you to all who have contributed. It will be a real boost to the Common Fund to receive this money which is vital for the support of all our priests. It seems likely that Mass will remain suspended for many more weeks. If at any time you are in a position to make a contribution to the First Collection, by using the DONATE button on the website, or dropping in an offering, placed in an enveloped marked for “First Collection/Priests” we will ensure it goes quickly to the Common Fund account. Thanks for looking after all the priests with such generous support, it is greatly appreciated. Fr. Joe