St. Patrick’s Church in downtown Toronto. Wikimedia Commons

Here’s an excellent way to ‘bond’ with parish

  • October 31, 2018

Stocks, bonds and mutual funds make great gifts — just ask the parishioners at St. Patrick’s in downtown Toronto.

Thanks in part to a generous gift of securities, the grand old church is both more comfortable and more prayerful. A parishioner who gave thousands of dollars in securities was able to help St. Patrick’s buy new pews and kneelers and install money-saving, modern LED lighting.

“The (old) lighting was over 50-years-old technology,” explained pastor Fr. Santo Arrigo of the Redemptorists. 

Within the next five years changes in technology would make that old system impossible to repair and maintain, Arrigo said. But getting the cash to put in new lighting was a challenge.

The same was true for the old pews. There were so many broken kneelers that St. Patrick’s parishioners had come up with a new liturgical tradition. Before Mass the early arrivers would turn the broken pews around so people who came after them would have an easier time choosing a seat.

Now with lighting that can subtly reflect the liturgical season (a slight purple tinge during Advent, for example) and pews and kneelers that no longer distract from prayer, things at the parish are looking up.

“A lot of people have commented that when the church has a purple tinge as opposed to the gold, it really feels like Advent all of a sudden,” Arrigo said. “It just cues them into prayerfulness.”

As it happened, one St. Patrick’s parishioner was already hoping to help pay for new pews when the church announced it would be dedicating the money it received through the Archdiocese of Toronto’s Family of Faith campaign to new lighting and pews. 

He went to Arrigo to talk about the best way he could help.

“If the person donates the cash, rather than securities, they’re not able to give the whole amount,” explained Arrigo. By arranging a direct gift of securities through the Archdiocese of Toronto’s development office, more money wound up in the hands of the parish.

It all comes down to tax law.

If you’ve got $10,000 in a brokerage account or in mutual funds, you could sell them and give the money to the church. Let’s say you originally bought those stocks or mutual funds for $5,000 and now they’re worth $10,000. When you sell the securities you have to pay taxes on 50 per cent of the capital gains. That means you pay taxes, as much as 43 per cent, on $2,500 of your gift. That’s $1,075 subtracted from the total.

Take that same $10,000 in securities and ask your bank or broker to transfer it directly to the archdiocese’s account. 

When the archdiocese, as a registered charity, sells your stocks, bonds or mutual funds no tax is owed. 

They write you a tax receipt for the full amount of your gift. If you pay taxes in Ontario, that receipt translates into $3,976 in tax savings.

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