The Dilemma of Giving

"The dilemma of giving" by Michael Carrillo (

Copyright Gerry Dincher via Flickr (2015), CC BY SA 2.0

Charity giving is an essential part of Christian life. The Church reminds us of our responsibility to assist the poor and charities during Lent. Even though charitable donating is emphasized during Lent, we should be contributing year-round. Here is where the dilemma for me comes into play. Who do I give to? There are so many worthy charities, secular and religious, that a person can support. The emphasis here will be for religious causes.

Local Giving

As the saying goes, “Charity begins at home.” As Catholics, our parish is our home. Beyond the usual Sunday offerings perhaps donating to the other needs of the parish could be one way to contribute. Most parishes need additional money for religious education or the upkeep of their buildings and other assets. Just a step-up above our parish are our dioceses. Most dioceses have a bishop’s appeal where the monies raised are used to cover expenses that are larger in scale, such as the education of seminarians, subsidies to poorer parishes, or the local Catholic Charities.

International Giving

Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you.” (Matthew 26:11) If we look at all the various religious orders and societies devoted to helping the poor, it is almost mind boggling. The needs of the world are so great. On the global level we can contribute to “Peter’s Pence.” This, like a bishop’s appeal, is the Vatican’s charity. The money it raises is used to assist those around the world with the most need. We as U.S. citizens can help the overseas poor and victims of natural disasters through Catholic Relief Services. And of course there are the various missionary religious orders that assist the poor worldwide.

Sponsoring Seminarians and Religious

If the education of priests and religious is important to you, there are organizations that assist men and women who cannot enter consecrated religious life due to outstanding student loan debt. I am sure most dioceses, seminaries, and religious orders would accept donations for the training needs of their seminarians and postulants. Our dollars can go a long way when sponsoring seminarians in some foreign countries.

See? The needs of the Church are great. These are just a few ways we can support our Church and the world. I would love to help all that I could, but with finite funds I have to settle on what I believe will serve the greatest amount of people. If you struggle like me on where to contribute, we need to pray and ask God where the need is greatest and inspire us to send our treasure where it will do the most good. We also need to make the commitment to continue giving; not just during Lent but throughout the course of the year.

What is your favorite religious charity?

Copyright 2017, Michael T Carrillo


About Author

Michael Carrillo is a retired police officer from a large California metropolitan police department. He is married to Vicki and they have five adult children between them. He is an unabashed fan of Jesuit education, though he regrets not obtaining one himself. Day hikes and walks give him opportunities and inspirations to look for and find God.

Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.