Catholic Diocese of Rapid City received $392,605 in coronavirus aid for employees, utilities

Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 11:12 AM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Since March, Catholic churches in Western South Dakota began canceling in-person mass due to the coronavirus pandemic. Churches closed doors and moved online--causing a “shortfall” in Sunday collections, according to the Catholic Diocese of Rapid City.

To keep people employed and the lights on, the Diocese of Rapid City applied for a loan through the federal government’s small business relief. Through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the diocese received almost $400,000 in aid.

The Diocese of Rapid City’s $392,605 loan is a portion of the nearly $3 billion that Catholic institutions in almost 200 dioceses received from PPP grants. The Associated Press says that the Roman Catholic Church could be the “biggest beneficiary of the paycheck program.”

In the diocese’s financial report, donated investments dropped 78% in Fiscal Year 2020 from FY19.

According to the rules governing the PPP program, the Catholic Church received the loan because it is “treated as any other nonprofit,” the Rapid City Diocese Bishop Peter Muhich said.

“The funds were used to keep full-time employees and part-time employees working during the shortfall in donations, thus relieving the public burden of unemployment,” Bishop Muhich explained.

Because of how the money was used, the $392,605 loan will likely be forgiven by the Small Business Administration if the paperwork is approved.

“The diocese was required to prove that it used these funds to keep its employees working during the pandemic or the PPP payment remained a loan and not a grant,” Bishop Muhich said.

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