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Catholic Church Employees Face Unpaid Furloughs

The San Bernardino Catholic Diocese, which includes churches here in the Desert, announces unpaid furloughs for many of its employees.

News Channel looks into how this will affect Catholic schools and charities in the Coachella Valley.

Father Howard Lincoln of Sacred Heart Catholic church in Palm Desert also tells us there are hiring freezes, “There’s a freeze also on the salaries for our teachers at the schools. We try to pay Desert Sands salaries. This year, we’ll have to freeze them. Many, many more parents are asking for help with their tuition this year than last year.”

Father Howard Lincoln shows the new Sacred Heart school buildings nearing completion.

It cost $14 million. But, parishioner donations are down 5 percent. People are trying to step up their fundraising efforts to keep church charities going.

When we asked parishioner Kathleen Lehman whether she’s donating more these days, she answered, “We’re trying to. We went to the fundraiser this past weekend. Even though we’re on a budget, we said, ‘OK, let’s buy these things.’ So, we’re doing a small part.”

Catholic parishioner Brenda Rincon added, “Well, personally, I work for a non-profit here in the community and the church does so much for other groups that we live in here in our area, so it’s all reciprocal. The more we give, the more get and the more we can put out there for the benefit of everyone. More than ever, our support is needed.”

Those faithful that come here believe the furloughs, hiring freezes, and other challenges can be overcome by one thing: prayer.

Father Howard Lincoln explained, “In a way, it’s the hardest prayer in the world. ‘Thy will be done.’ Because sometimes God’s will isn’t my will. I try to pray ‘thy will be done’ and really try to trust.”

KESQ News Team

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