A federal Coronavirus relief program helped parishes, schools and agencies in the Diocese of Allentown continue their important ministries for people in five counties during the height of the virus shutdown.
With financial contributions reduced during the suspension of public participation in Mass, along with the added costs of protective equipment and social distancing measures, the loans were welcome supplements to strained budgets.
The loans helped Catholic Charities continue providing counseling and neighborhood food programs, supported Catholic schools as they switched to online and remote learning, helped Holy Family Manor continue its compassionate care for the elderly, and enabled parishes to continue their community ministries around the Diocese.
The Diocese itself applied for and received $1.6 million in Payroll Protection Loans to help defer payroll costs during the shutdown. A portion of that forgivable loan will need to be refunded to the government because of a work-force reduction implemented in administrative offices.
Parishes, schools, Catholic Charities and Holy Family Senior Living are financially independent of the diocese and are separate entities. Each made their own decisions about whether to pursue federal assistance.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has said it will make public the names of those entities that received Payroll Protection Program loans in excess of $150,000.