Salary: How much do YOU get paid? How much should you?
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 762
    I mentioned at the beginning a friend of mine who gets paid $50 a service... This is at a parish whose weekly collection is occasionally FORTY THOUSAND dollars. (There are 6 weekend masses.) I kid you not. (That's a 4, with 4 zeros after it.)

    Now, I would call THAT exploitation. (What else could the church be possibly spending that money on!?!)

    But...for those of us trying to figure out how much we should accept at a church much smaller than that? I wonder what percentage of the budget would be the *max* we could expect?
    Like my example given in my last post, if the church gets $3000 a week... they aren't going to be able to pay me 10% of the budget, which would be $150 each for 2 services. (I'm ending up with $75 each, for $150 total, which is 1/20th of the budget, and this church pays another organist/cantor for another Mass.)

    I wonder what is fair for the musician to expect or hope for in similar situations? I don't want to exploit the church, and like has been oft' pointed out...most of us aren't in it for the money! If it's a church that's going to appreciate my music, and especially let me do more of what I want, then I'm going to tolerate less money.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen BruceL
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,281
    Just a note - the collection amount doesn't tell the whole story.

    I worked at a parish whose weekly collection was $35,000 - $40,000. The reason was the included tuition for the school into the collection, since technically tuition wasn't charged. When you got down to it, the collection was really more like $12,000 - $15,000 a week.

    They paid me decently, in accord with NPM guidelines, but still - it's not like they were rolling in money as you might have thought had you perused their bulletin.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,703
    "In too many cases I have observed that when a priest says he doesn't have the money, what he means is he isn't going to spend the money that he very well does have on liturgy and music."

    Bingo. The money is ALWAYS there. Always. If there isn't money for music, there probably isn't money for anything else.

    I'm frankly shocked at all the stipend musicians reporting. I'm salaried. Have been for the past six years. Wouldn't consider anything else, except as pick-up work. The church should have a paid music director, other organists hired as needed. A music director can oversee the whole program and lead it where it needs to be led. An organist showing up at Sunday will just always pick his favorite four hymns.

    I don't have experience with the AU, though I have visited some other breakaway Anglican parishes before (namely in the Anglican Catholic Church). I can tell you that the organists I've heard didn't deserve to make a nickel, let alone a salary. If the parish is small, they do have to (proportionally) decrease their needs, and a lot of breakaway parishes (Anglican or otherwise) are usually quite small. A parish of 40 shouldn't expect to have five Sunday Masses, two Saturday Masses, and an organist and choir at all.
    Thanked by 2Ben Yanke tomboysuze
  • DougS
    Posts: 792
    Benefits for full-time employees can also vary widely from diocese to diocese. It can really pay, literally, to do some research before you accept a position.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 5,803
    a married person with children should receive enough to support their family according to JP II. has anyone read that teaching?
    Thanked by 1tomboysuze
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,063
    What is that specific teaching from JPII?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 5,803
    don't remember

    something about fair wages for a family
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,063
    High priority to know what this is!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 4,946
    Laborem Exercens (1981): "Just remuneration for the work of an adult who is responsible for a family means remuneration which will suffice for establishing and properly maintaining a family and for providing security for its future. Such remuneration can be given either through what is called a family wage-that is, a single salary given to the head of the family fot his work, sufficient for the needs of the family without the other spouse having to take up gainful employment outside the home"
  • @M. Jackson Osborn:

    Whom were you addressing in the post immediately below mine?
  • YRoT -
    I was addressing kas, who renewed this discussion on 12th March.
  • kas
    Posts: 6

    Once again some interesting thoughts have emerged regarding the whole compensation issue. I do agree with many here who say that the money in MANY parishes is there, but it's an allocation (or lack of) priority that is in question. There is a church nearby me - a very small (non-Catholic) church that has been offering $100 per Sunday service - and they have very few members. Another very small church pays a decent salary for their organist and director and they are barely breaking even budget-wise. My church has high expenses from a previous building project, etc., but there is still plenty available - at least to be able to pay $4-5k per year for an organist. I don't think that would be out-of-line. There is one other organist besides myself who plays every other Saturday vigil service - and he only receives $40 per service. Part of the problem is that we had someone who played over 40 years for absolutely no pay at all. But that may have been his choice - not sure - I've heard conflicting viewpoints on that. I do know that I receive a pretty small percentage of the total amount of the budget which is allotted to paying 5 part-time employees.

  • Mike R
    Posts: 106
    This is not just an issue for musicians. In many (most?) parishes, if you were salaried in accord with the AGO guidelines for someone with a Master's degree, you would be making twice as much as any other lay staff member of the parish.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 622
    Mike R, yes, this is true: makes me nervous around budget time, for sure!

    That said, what does the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy say? That music is the greatest sacred art! So, assuming the person you employ is doing the job conscientiously, you're really just fulfilling the teachings of the Church for all to see!

    It's true that this is sometimes a matter of priorities, but it is so frustrating to me to see a parish of 2-3k families that only has volunteer musicians. However, this is not surprising, and culture and Catholic identity has been taking a hit for years now.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 2,350
    It's true that this is sometimes a matter of priorities, but it is so frustrating to me to see a parish of 2-3k families that only has volunteer musicians. However, this is not surprising, and culture and Catholic identity has been taking a hit for years now.
    Sadly, how utterly and sadly pervasive this is, as I know from first-hand experience.
    Thanked by 2francis tomboysuze
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 5,803
    ryand... chonak beat me to it. thnx chonak, you educated and knowledgeable person.
  • tomboysuzetomboysuze
    Posts: 281
    I have observed the same thing, CHGiffen. And I agree that this is part of Catholic culture that needs to change. This may be common knowledge, but I was once told by a knowledgable priest who was trying to change this himself - that this "habit" was due to a history of Orders doing quite a bit of work in parishes for free - so that the economic structure of the Church as a whole was dependant on volunteerism as a "line on the spreadsheet."

    Having said that - I was also given a "fraternal correction" by a friend, who is a brilliant musician and was woefully underpaid as a D.M. - that volunteers who direct choirs (me, at the time) were seriously undermining the ability of professional Church musicians to earn a decent wage. I was a bit offended, but took it to heart and did approach the pastor for a part time salary, which he agreed to. $10,000.00 at the time - 1996 - for one mass, one or two rehearsals a week as needed -- at a parish that had a vibrant community that attended mass at the parish's historic church as well as a large community that preferred the "Main Church". All Holy Week liturgies were held at the Main Church - I planned and executed one of these and helped at the main church when needed for special liturgies, i.e. Scout Sunday.

    I remained at that salary for several years and was eventually raised $2000.00 when a new pastor came in. I left the position in 2006 - w/same duties, (having turned down the D.M. slot for the whole parish as I couldn't be away from the kids on the weekends.)
    at the salary of $12,000.00. Once I was salaried, my businessman husband (after putting up with my volunteering for 5 years) persuaded me not to take on any more liturgies during the year,without asking for reasonable compensation.

    I should note that the pastor - at my suggestion - did call the local AGO chapter president and discussed my duties and my salary with him. The AGO person told him that I was woefully underpaid, but the Pastor did not take any action - even though he was honest with me about the conversation, to his credit.

    Last month I polled some friends who are directors in parishes that pay pretty well in the DC area and asked them what a reasonable salary would be for a DM slot in a parish right outside DC. They advised $35 - $45 k for a mid-size parish right outside of DC as a starting salary, with benefits. But - I have 19 yrs. of experience, a proven record of success and plan to ask for a rather "low" salary for this area, because I have to hire an organist and the Pastor is also allowing me to hire an assistant who is a trained classical violinist, is learning to conduct and will take responsibility for one of the choirs as well as play the violin for every liturgy. It's a rare situation - but it's the only way I will take the job as the parish is a hot mess with a lot of infighting and their mass attendance is dismal. We'll see.
  • Protasius
    Posts: 345
    You don't know how lucky you are; here in West Germany we get paid 10€=13$ for weekdays and funerals und 15€=20$ for sundays and holydays. For special occasions such as choir accompaniment or latin (no kidding, in the parish I sing at and work for a mass with latin orations, preface and canon is occurring only twice a year) the money is doubled.
  • tomboysuzetomboysuze
    Posts: 281
    That is simply detestable.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 2,384
    "in the parish I sing at and work for a mass with latin orations, preface and canon is occurring only twice a year"

    Only twice a year? I think that's twice more than nearly every other parish in the world. :)
  • tomboysuzetomboysuze
    Posts: 281
    I was referring to the $13 and $20 per liturgy-if I understood your post correctly.
    Did I?
  • Protasius
    Posts: 345
    Yes you did; however most organists here earn their money through a regular job, so the money we get for organ playing is rather an expense allowance. The vast majority of organists I know is or has been a teacher, who get paid a fair salary; here almost no one except cathedral organists can earn his lifelihood solely by organ playing.
  • dad29
    Posts: 661
    If two given people are equal in ability, talent, accomplishment and are expected to fulfill the same duties, there should be no difference in their salaries just because one of them is married.

    Umhh, no.

    In the eyes of the Church--which is far different than in the eyes of secular society--raising a family is important, indeed. Therefore, the Church demands that those who are raising families get paid more, according to the size of their families.