Church set to lose €8 million due to coronavirus pandemic

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Church is estimating a loss of €8 million due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, the Archdiocese of Malta presented its financial report for 2019 which showed that it registered a surplus of €3.5 million in 2019. This helped to make up for the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

During the press conference, the Archdiocese’s administrative secretary Michael Pace Ross nevertheless advised that this surplus – which contrasts with the €137,000 deficit recorded in the previous year – was not enough to make up for the severe financial challenges caused by the pandemic on the Church in Malta’s work, forcing it to resort to past savings.

Last year, the Archdiocese, which includes more than 100 entities and employs more than 1,300 people, saw its revenue increase by almost €6 million, primarily due to an increase in capital gains on investment and an increase in the dividend from APS Bank. It also reported increases in income from inheritances and public funds.

Concurrently, its expenditure increased by €4.8 million, with 605 covering wages of clergy and laity alike, while 20% were operating expenditure. Spending on maintenance, restoration and conservation increased by 47%, whilst the Archdiocese paid almost €1.4 million in taxes.

The year’s financial results also include a one-off donation of €2.4 million in shares given to the Dar tal-Providenza and Caritas Malta.

During an interview on Newsbook Hour aired on 103 Malta’s Heart, Pace Ross explained that the financial report needs to be contextualised and one needs to take into account the global pandemic and its impact on the Church’s operations and financial situation.   

The administrative secretary explained that the Church’s pastoral mission increased, as more families and vulnerable individuals are assisted by the Church. He remarked that in order to carry out such work, financial resources were needed. 

The Church committed to Her mission

Despite the financial hardships brought about by the global pandemic, the Church in Malta remains committed to continuing her mission. 

The Archdiocese made use of its surplus and past saving to continue supporting the Church’s pastoral work. 

Pace Ross explained that the Church’s income is based on donations and fundraising. The income is also based on capital gains on investments and dividends from APS Bank. 

The Archdiocese employs 1,000 individuals on a full-time basis and 300 individuals on a part-time basis. These figures do not include teachers and bank employers. Most of these individuals are employed in Church-run elderly care homes, residential care homes for children, and Dar tal-Providenza. 

Pace Ross explained that various high-quality services are offered within different Church entities.

The number of employees was increased during the pandemic to ensure that the services offered are not negatively impacted by the pandemic. 

Expenses shot up during the pandemic. During the initial outbreak of coronavirus in Malta, employees within the Church-run residential care homes for the elderly were locked inside with the residents in order to safeguard the vulnerable. Pace Ross appealed to the public to donate to the Church so as to continue helping the marginalised and those in need.

The outbreak of the coronavirus in Malta also highlighted an important aspect of the parish churches around the island, which stepped in to help the most vulnerable within the community, Pace Ross reflected. He also referred to the work carried out by Caritas Malta during the peak of the outbreak.

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