CHICAGO — Catholic churches around the globe are an integral part of daily life, providing community, acts of charity and support for the elderly and vulnerable, but now the poorest among them are in dire straits, including churches in the most under-resourced corners of the United States.

They have had to close their doors and suspend public celebrations of Masses as the nation grapples with the spread if COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

According to Catholic Extension, the average Sunday collection in these poor Catholic parishes is just $375, but now with churches closed due to the pandemic, there are no parishioners in their pews and “they have absolutely nothing.”

To address their need, the Chicago-based mission organization, which raises and distributes funds to support U.S. mission dioceses, has established a virtual collection basket at

The fundraising campaign is called “Give. Pray. Inspire.” It will support the poorest among us, whose needs will only grow as this disease grabs hold and illness and dying increase,” Catholic Extension said in a news release announcing the campaign.

Catholic Extension raises and distributes funds to support U.S. mission dioceses, many of which are rural, cover a large geographic area, and have limited personnel and pastoral resources. It has been supporting the work and ministries of these mission dioceses since its founding in 1905.