Catholic leaders told AP their parishes and schools suffered financially when they closed to slow the spread of the deadly virus. Without Paycheck Protection Program funds, they said, they would have had to slash jobs and curtail their charitable mission just when demand for food pantries and social services was spiking.
"We experienced a very steep and sudden revenue loss with no sign on the horizon that things would improve," a spokeswoman for the Chicago Archdiocese said in response to questions.
The archdiocese had more than $1 billion in cash and short-term investments in its headquarters and cemetery division as of May — enough to cover about 631 days of operating expenses, according to a review by the independent ratings agency Moody's Investors Service. Chicago's parishes, schools and ministries accumulated at least $77 million in paycheck protection funds.
In Los Angeles, archdiocesan spokeswoman Adrian Marquez Alarcon told AP the pandemic triggered "significant impact," leading to wage cuts and layoffs of parish staff, musicians and wedding coordinators.
Parishes, schools and ministries there collected at least $80 million in paycheck protection aid. That came at a time when the headquarters reported $658 million in available funds in the fiscal year when the coronavirus arrived.
This Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, photo shows the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral in Raleigh, N.C.