Fundraising committees have been established in various parishes to develop, expand or improve on the existing income generation ideas or projects currently under way.

Recently I attended Mass at one parish in Harare and parishioners were encouraged to donate funds, in whatever amount, towards the purchasing of a parish vehicle. The vehicle had to be paid by the end of July.

I pondered that as Catholics are we now able to donate, pledge and give?  Could it be that we are now free from the dependency syndrome where we always receive and giving little in return?  It had me reflecting and hoping that should we succeed in such projects then our journey towards self-reliance is now full throttle.

The questions that came to my mind centred on our ability and commitment to raise funds to pay for maintenance of our existing buildings? Are we able to expand on the small churches? Can we now give wholeheartedly something of quality which is not just giving what is available in the pantry or unwanted? Can we now look after the priests from their health, food, holiday, mobility, clothing, education, honorariums and any other social needs that arise?  Do we have the spirit and the culture of giving or do we not genuinely have? Why are some people, existing in the same social and economic context as Catholics, able to give?  Surely what comes to mind is the passage of the poor widow (Mk 12:42) who gave so little but with all her heart.

In line with the Self Reliance concept, there is need to shift our mind set and realise someone somewhere may not continue giving us funding. Historically there was funding for religious orders from outside but environments and the situation may change – the implication being that parishioners will have to work harder to sustain the running costs of the pastoral work and the parish activities.

We need to realise that we are the Church and we are responsible for the Church. We need to give generously and support the mission of the church as we take steps towards becoming missionaries ourselves.