My wife and I are on a quest for a new ‘home’ parish. We think we’ve found it, and it has nothing to do with who the pastor is, though we do like him. We found out on previous attempts how ‘not’ to find a parish.
While I’m a firm believer that Christ is present in the tabernacle in every Catholic Church, and it is for Him that I worship in a Catholic Church, it is the human experience that makes a parish ‘HOME’. We can always say to disregard the music, the noisy babies, the bad preaching, the ugly building, and so on. We can even say it’s not important who the people are in the pews around you. But the people make the experience, in fact, the people provide the nourishment for the parish. In recent weeks we’ve made a connection with some of the parish, in fact, lingering in the parish parking lot talking to people. The parish is small and intimate. I even know a somewhat mongoloid man who goes to Mass faithfully every Sunday, and I see him every day at the bus stop. I stop and chat with him. He’s pretty nice. But we’ve met some of the players in the parish, literally. The pianist and her husband who pay a bridge toll just to assist at every Sunday Mass, a person who’s joining a Franciscan convent in a month or so, a single lady who also commutes to attend Mass, and a few others. We met the Bishop in this intimate setting.
It’s really starting to seem like we belong here. Which is good. So some don’t’s if you’re parish shopping…Don’t go just because you like the priests. They might be gone next week. Don’t go because of the music (either good or bad), that changes with volunteerism. Don’t go because you like the lectors, again because volunteerism whittles away the available lectors. In short, go because you know that Jesus is present in the Church, and because you are family, those in each Mass. Then, afterwards, act like family. Talk to people, get to know them, their lives. Get involved in the parish. How can it be a family if nobody does anything.
7 % of Catholics do 90% of the work in the parish. It’s amazing-the Catholic Church feeds, shelters and clothes more people every day than any other organization on Earth. With 7% of the Catholic Church accounting for the vast majority of what gets done. That’s 84 million in the world, 4.55 million in the US. Could you imagine what another 1% could do? I invite you to help. Come early, stay late. Do it the same time every week, same Mass, and so on. First, get to know faces, then get to talking to people. Start doing something. Invest something in your parish. I spent $18 and bought 6 books from DynamicCatholic.org, and an additional $10/month to support their work-bringing Catholicism to the next 1%.