Sep. 14, 2010
Is your parish looking outward? Or only inward?
Is it concerned with reaching out to Catholics who rarely show up to Mass anymore? And increasing attendance? Or is it struggling just to support the Catholics who happen to show up? Silently content when people finally stop trickling in?
Does it encourage everyone to go to confession regularly? Or does it only quietly promote it, worried about the logistical problems that would occur if everyone actually did?
Is your parish overjoyed at the crowd that shows up to Mass at Easter and Christmas? And figuring out ways to engage and inspire them to keep coming back every Sunday? Or is everyone secretly glad that so many people don’t show up every Sunday because of the changes that would need to be made to accommodate them?
Is your parish known in its community (among Catholics and non-Catholics alike) for reaching out to others? Or is it known for a lack of activity?
How most of our parishes answer these questions gives us a good glimpse into the near future of Catholicism. Unfortunately, I think most, at least here in the United States, affirm the latter of each of these points. They’re not thriving. They’re in maintenance mode.
Sure, we’ll take good care of you if you walk through the door. But please don’t walk through the door. We are over-worked and burdened enough as it is.
And that’s true, many parishes - and especially our pastors - are burdened and busy enough as it is. But lessening their burden must not mean hoping for a lighter load, it must mean finding more shoulders to lift it.
If that’s your parish, what are you doing to help? And what are you doing to find and inspire other Catholics to help also?