IF THE people of Hexham and Newcastle diocese do not give enough in collections for the Pope's visit, it will hit the diocese's scheme for helping needy parishes, Bishop Hugh Lindsay says in the latest diocesan accounts.
Hexham and Newcastle runs a central investment fund from which contributing parishes receive an income of 5 per cent a year, and from which help is given to parishes in need.
The diocese also pioneered the publication of details of its annual income and expenditure, and of the placing of its investments.
Bishop Lindsay, in his _introduction to the accounts says: "I am thinking much more of the spiritual and pastoral preparation for the visit, but I can no longer ignore our rightful share of the expenses. I hope we will largely meet it by direct giving. Otherwise, our central diocesan funds are bound to be affected for a while, and this will make it harder to help the parishes which need our assistance."
High interest rates have caused the diocese's fixed interest stocks to drop to a value less than cost price. As a result, the diocese cannot contribute to the national fund to help dioceses in England and Wales, or put aside money for houses for retired priests.
Hexham and Newcastle has £2,626,680 of unpaid building loans. Parishes had deposited £3,335,192 with the diocese for lending. About £2,150,000 was given to parishes by direct giving.