“Ask a Priest: What Should Be My Priority With Almsgiving?”

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Q: How do I decide about almsgiving? As we’re approaching the new year and thinking about resolutions and how to organize my 2022, when it comes to finance, I intend to focus on almsgiving. But then it comes to me that I have a lot of options: I can give to the parish as tithe, I can give in the Mass offerings, I can give to the ecclesial movement of which I’m a member, I can give to non-religious groups, I can give spontaneously to the poor I meet in the street. I like the idea of sharing a fixed (generous) amount monthly. Would that be enough, or would I then miss the “spontaneous” dimension of it? Thank you. – C.O.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It’s great to see that you have a spirit of generosity.

There are no fixed rules in this area. It is a matter of prudence. But generosity also involves a spontaneous dimension, since it is in the face of the unexpected demands of life that our hearts and virtue can grow the most.

It is good to remember, too, that almsgiving isn’t limited to money. Anything involving acts of mercy and service can count as almsgiving, including sharing the Gospel with others.

For that reason, you might want to consider making the Church and its various programs a priority on your list.

A fixed donation each month can help groups immensely with their budgeting. Fixed donations can be a constant reminder to ourselves that we should share our resources with the needy.

Fixed donations, of course, shouldn’t stop you from spontaneous acts of charity. As 2 Corinthians 9:7 reminds us, “God loves a cheerful giver.”

You might want to see our Retreat Guide on stewardship, “The Widow’s Might.”

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