In the spirit of full transparency for the parishioners of St. Thomas More, below are the findings and recommendations based on the audit of our collections and money counting processes. There was no wrongdoing discovered. The changes which are recommended are being done only to make sure our procedures are compliant with the Archdiocesan Handbook and are a return to pre-pandemic protocols. It is the expectation of the pastor and parish office that these changes will be implemented no later than November 20, 2021. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Eric Keisling, Director of Finance and Operations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collection bags are placed in the sacristy prior to Masses. Metal collection baskets are on the altar, and ushers approach the altar, pick up a collection basket and proceed to collect contributions.
Once all aisles have been collected, each usher deposits their collection into a wicker basket at the foot of the altar, where it remains until the end of Mass.
Following Mass, the priest or deacon takes the bag from the sacristy and puts the collection into the bag at the foot of the altar where people can see. He then seals the bag and carries the bag back to the rectory where it is kept in an unlocked cabinet where the money counters will take it on Monday morning before the count.
Archdiocese Handbook Protocol:
Before each mass an adult usher will record the date, time, and his/her name on a pre-numbered tamper proof bag, as well as complete and detach the perforated bag receipt, placing it in the bag.
Following the collection of the offering, two unrelated ushers will bring it forward to the altar in a collection basket.
Immediately following each mass, two unrelated ushers will place the offering in the tamper proof bag, sealing and transporting it to a secure location (a safe is preferred) on the parish property, before it is counted. Access to the secure area must be limited to authorized individuals only, with the key or safe combination appropriately safeguarded.
Adjustments to Current Protocol:
To be implemented no later than November 20
Before each Mass, one usher will sign and date the collection bag which will be in the sacristy until the end of Mass, as well as fill out and detach the bag receipt, placing it in the bag.
Metal collection baskets will be kept in the back of the nave along with the wicker collection basket. After the collection, all the baskets will be emptied into the wicker collection basket. Two unrelated ushers will bring the wicket basket to the foot of the altar.
Immediately following each mass, two unrelated ushers will place the offering in the tamper proof bag, sealing and transporting it to the safe in the sacristy. Either the head usher or the deacon will have access to the key to the safe to deposit the collection.
On Monday morning, either a deacon, a money counter, or on exception bases the Director of Finance, will transport the tamper proof collection bags from the safe in the sacristy to the conference room of the rectory by 7:30 a.m. to be counted by the money counters.
No material changes in the counting process are required at this time.