Church records €3.4 million surplus, as bank dividend income returns

The Church missed out on the APS Bank dividend in 2020 but this returned last year, contributing to the €3.4 million surplus

Administrative Secretary of the Archdiocese of Malta, Michael Pace Ross (Photo: Curia)
Administrative Secretary of the Archdiocese of Malta, Michael Pace Ross (Photo: Curia)

The Archdiocese of Malta registered a €3.4 million surplus in 2021, thanks to proceeds from the APS Bank dividend, after a one-year gap.

On Thursday the Archdiocese, which includes more than 100 entities and employs more than 1,340 persons, presented the financial report for 2021.

It said the surplus was a result of the receipt of the APS Bank dividend, income from proceeds from the disposal of property, and an increase in parish collections.

During a press conference, Administrative Secretary Michael Pace Ross said that the Archdiocese has started to recover from the negative financial effects of the pandemic.

The Archdiocese registered an increase in revenue of €6.9 million. There was a 26% increase in parish collections over 2020, however, they still fell short of the pre-pandemic levels.

Increases in income from donations, property rentals, fundraising activities, and public funds have also been registered, in particular for the financing of the salaries of the Minor Seminary and Sacred Heart College which are administered by the Archdiocese.

As a result of an increase in tourist arrivals, more income was generated at the Mdina Cathedral Museum and the Mosta Basilica.

Income from inheritances and fees from elderly homes decreased, as several beds remained vacant due to the pandemic.

The Archdiocese registered an increase in expenditure of €4.5 million over the previous year, with two-thirds of the expenses covering wages of the clergy and laity.

Operating costs, including maintenance, restoration and conservation decreased by €440,000. Charitable donations to people in need increased by 17% adding up to a total of €560,000. The taxation charge paid by the Archdiocese amounted to €1.8 million.

During 2021, the Archdiocese benefitted from over €1.2 million in COVID-19 financial assistance from the government.

The Archbishop’s Curia, which manages the administrative and pastoral activity of the Archdiocese of Malta, registered a €2 million deficit, after distributing €631,000 in subsidies to the various Church entities. The deficit in 2020 amounted to €4.5 million.

Curia’s revenue increased by €4 million over 2020, mainly due to the dividend from APS Bank. The Church is the principle shareholder in the bank.

Expenditure also increased to €10 million. As a result of a new collective agreement for Curia employees, that was postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic, salaries increased by 17%.

Donations to people and families in need increased because of difficulties faced during the pandemic.

The Archbishop’s Curia paid almost €480,000 in taxes.

“The surplus registered in 2021 will be helping the Church continue its work during this year, in particular when one takes into consideration the instability in the financial markets caused by inflation and the war in Ukraine,” Pace Ross said. “In order for the Church to meet the needs of today’s society, it cannot continue to depend solely on traditional sources of income.”

The Administrative Secretary mentioned various projects that have been or are being carried out by the Church, including; Caritas’ Tal-Ibwar Therapeutic Centre, the investment in the Siġġiewi and Birkirkara homes run by Dar tal-Providenza, distribution of food by the parishes to individuals in need, the ‘Kenn’ project by the Migrants Commission, the teaching of catechism online, and environmental projects at Dar tal-Kleru and the Seminary