As a kid, I was always really excited for the part of Mass when Mom and Dad gave me money to put in the collection basket. I do not know why exactly, but my guess is that it had to do with being able to move around in the pew a little bit without getting in trouble. And I was giving away my parents’ money – that was easy and fun! But I never knew what it was all about until I was older. This week, spend some time thinking about families and the collection basket.
The offertory is a great teaching opportunity for children. Explain to them the significance of why we offer these gifts to the Lord: “From the very beginning Christians have brought, along with bread and wine for the Eucharist, gifts to share with those in need. This custom of the collection, ever appropriate, is inspired by the example of Christ who became poor to make us rich” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, para.1351).
With the season of Lent on the horizon, this lesson of giving of one’s gifts as an offering to the Lord and others is pertinent to the Lenten call to almsgiving. Encourage parents to let their children put money in the basket. If the family gives online, encourage them to participate in the offertory by creating “We give online” markers that can be picked up on the way into Mass. This is a beautiful act of stewardship, and something worth teaching our children. It is through example that we will pass on a culture of stewardship to the next generation. By teaching parishioners about the importance of families and the collection basket, you can create that culture – instead of defaulting to some of the worst fundraising ideas ever.