For generations of Roman Catholics in the United States, the ritual of attending Mass on Sundays has been intertwined with slipping a numbered envelope into the collection basket.
But in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, churchgoers are letting the basket pass them by in favor of donating online, part of an effort to meld time-tested fund-raising with 21st-century technology.
In October, the archdiocese, which includes 221 parishes in 19 southwestern Ohio counties, became the first in the nation to put in place a comprehensive Internet donation system for its weekly collections. The goal was to generate consistent revenue and to cater to parishioners who have grown accustomed to paying their bills online.
The practice is catching on throughout the country, with the Archdiocese of Chicago allowing parishes to opt into a similar plan, and individual churches experimenting with similar technology.