Church registers a surplus of €1.2m in 2020 – collection fund down by 40%
The Church in Malta ended last year with a balance of just over one million Euros. The financial report for last year shows that the Archdiocese made a smaller surplus than it did the previous year, but the situation would have been different had there not been a one-off income from shares and inheritance held by three entities within it. The pandemic also affected the Church’s finances which suffered a decline in collection revenue, had increased costs and increased aid to the most needy families.
Last year, the income of the Archdiocese of Malta decreased by more than three million euro. When presenting the financial statement for last year, the Administrative Secretary of the Archdiocese, Michael Pace Ross, explained that the decrease was mainly due to much lower revenue from collection and the lack of dividends from APS bank that was not granted on the recommendation of the European Central Bank due to the pandemic.
As no mass was celebrated in the churches between March and June last year, and attendance in the following months was lower, the revenue from the collection in the parishes decreased by more than one million euros or 40 % compared to 2019. This in addition to a reduction of almost three quarters of a million euro in donations. The decline in tourism also had an impact on finances as visitors to the Mdina Cathedral Museum and the Mosta Basilica fell by more than 80%.
On the other hand, the Archdiocese increase its income from legacies and financial assistance schemes provided by the Government during the pandemic. The wage supplement given by the Government to alleviate the burdens of the Covid helped the Archdiocese to retain all the employees and add others who work directly in the pastoral mission of the Church and in the social field.
As a result of the pandemic, the Archdiocese postponed a number of projects and works. This led to a reduction in spending by two million and six hundred thousand euros. Mr Pace Ross explained that two-thirds of the expenditure went to the wages of clergy and laity. Operating costs, including those for maintenance, restoration and conservation decreased by 15%.
It has been a very difficult year because we have had a drastic reduction in the collection from the parishes and we are making up for this loss from past savings collected in previous years, but we also seeing where we can tap initiatives that become government funds to enable us to work to support our operations. ”
Despite the decline in revenue, the Archdiocese, which brings together more than 100 entities and employs more than 1,300 people, has registered a surplus of one million and two hundred thousand euros, which is however still more than two million euros less than in 2019. Mr Pace Ross said that without the one-time stakes received by the Sebh Foundation, and a legacy benefited by the Dar tal- Providenza and Dar tal-Kleru, the blow to the Archdiocese would have been much larger.
“We always hold on to the surpluses we make so that when we have a case like we had this year, which was very difficult, we can continue with our operations. I must also mention that we have increased our operations. We have increased our costs because the the needs of families and individuals have increased in this pandemic year, but we have not reduced any workforce but have increased our workforce in the pastoral and social aspect and we have continued with our mission. ”
Asked about the prospects for this year, Mr Pace Ross said he estimates it will be a little better than last year also because he said the Archdiocese will receive the dividend as a shareholder of APS Bank – although it will be capped.