Wednesday, April 5, 2017

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE AS TO WHY CATHOLICS SHOULD BE ATTENDING MASS?


Below, I print from Crux an article they have on increasing Catholic participation. You can read the full article from Crux here. 

While these are interesting suggestions, I am ill at ease with these suggestions on a number of levels as it seems we are catering to the consumer's mentality. We must provide the services and products to get people into our churches, much like the Protestants have done for years, especially those Protestant denominations that are in full-compete mode with other denominations around them.

So, what do you see as missing from what is suggested we do as Catholics to keep people in the pews?

From Crux:

Less than half of parishioners, for example, feel invited and encouraged to participate in parish ministry, and only a third understand clearly how to become more involved, and fewer than 20% feel they have a role in parish decision making.
  1. Starting this Sunday, and regularly thereafter, our pastors and parish council leaders should stand in the pulpit to invite every parishioner to proactively involve themselves in parish ministries. And it won’t just be about delivering the message, but welcoming real initiative on the part of the laity. Once we sound a clearer, more forceful call to action, and many Catholics of goodwill respond, we can’t allow their action ideas to be stalled or smothered under endless layers of bureaucracy.
  2.  At least twice a year, parishes should invite all parishioners to “brainstorming” meetings around key challenges that face our churches: How can we get better at engaging young adults? Re-engaging those who have walked away? Becoming more proactive in service to the poor? We should solicit ideas widely and take a proactive, entrepreneurial stance on the best ones to emerge. We need to experiment with creative new ideas, and most importantly accept the risk that some will invariably fail.
  3. Each parish should immediately take steps toward becoming more welcoming. Everyone who walks in the church door on Sunday morning should be greeted; those of us in the pews should greet those seated nearby who don’t appear to be parish regulars; welcome messages should be conveyed from the pulpit, on the website, in the bulletin, and elsewhere; and we should have processes to help any who want to learn more about the parish or Catholic beliefs. Research shows that many regular mass-attendees are even more attracted by a parish’s welcoming spirit than by the quality of its liturgy. We ignore such research at our peril

13 comments:

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Starting this Sunday, and regularly thereafter, our pastors and parish council leaders should stand in the pulpit to invite every parishioner to proactively involve themselves in parish ministries."

This is why we baptize. To wash away Original Sin, to make people members of the Body of Christ, the Church, and to make them adopted children of God and sharers in the promise of salvation. As member of the Body of Christ, the laity have a right and an obligation to participate in parish ministries.

"At least twice a year, parishes should invite all parishioners to “brainstorming” meetings around key challenges that face our churches."

Well, at least once a year. Pastors and Pastoral Councils have many good ideas, but there are others who may have brilliant ideas on the life of the parish. No pastor is obliged to implement everything that is suggested, but hearing and considering the ideas is, itself, a good idea.

"Each parish should immediately take steps toward becoming more welcoming."

Why not? Why not have a "Welcome to the Parish" group that visits new home buyers in the area? Why not have a breakfast once a quarter for newly registered families? Why not, if applicable, welcome and introduce new families during mass once a quarter?





Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

What annoys me about all this stuff is that Catholics now expect us to provide this, that and the other and if their needs aren't met they shop around for a church, Catholic or not, that provides it.

If we are a sacramental Church whose primary purpose is the salvation of souls through the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ present in our sacraments and transubstantially in the Most Holy Eucharist, you would think that this purpose would be the most important aspect of the institutional Church and everything else icing on the cake. There is no suggestion that we need to ramp up the truths about salvation and damnation and how both of those two thing are brought about.

And there is no talk about the family or home being the Church in miniature which is critical to being Catholic 24/7! The Catholic families who seem to be recovering the home as the Church in miniature are no longer our Catholic school families as they once were, but our home schoolers who use Catholic homeschooling programs. And interestingly enough they are the ones who initiate community meetings with other home schoolers providing ministries in that context.

rcg said...

I agree with both of you. It is in HOW it gets done that matters. In some ways having a strong community can make a parish seem more insular since people may not know what to do when strangers show up. I also think that people want to turn the nave into a mall commons, stand around talking, etc. So people of that mind set who go to a parish where people use the nave for silent prayer will often feel neglected.

Brainstorming is over rated and even when appropriate should occupy about 1% ~ 5% of a project.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"If we are a sacramental Church whose primary purpose is the salvation of souls through the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ present in our sacraments and transubstantially in the Most Holy Eucharist, you would think that this purpose would be the most important aspect of the institutional Church and everything else icing on the cake."

Attending to the "primary purpose" appropriately doesn't preclude attending to other purposes with vigor. If preaching salvation isn't getting them in the doors, if condemning sin isn't drawing the millennials in, if people are attracted by other, "non-primary" purposes, why not use these secondary means to show the face of a welcoming, supportive, and beneficial Church?

Denigrating secondary means as "stuff" that is provided elsewhere is self-defeating.

Evangelization should be designed according to the needs of those being evangelized. If we lived in another era, then we'd evangelize according to the needs of that era. Just because some strategy worked in a by-gone era doesn't mean it would be effective today.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I am not opposed to the secondary stuff and active employ it, but it is a symptom of the times, that The Mass, the other sacraments and the devotions and sacramentals such as the Rosary, Benediction, Adoration, opened churches for private prayer and the life of the Church are short-changed and even ignored in this quest to cater to the new mentality. We have our treasures as a sacramental Church, Protestants have theirs which are non sacramental, the most important of which is fellowship. Can't we just be Catholic and let the Protestants be Protestant?

rcg said...

It seems to me that the secondary things should flow from the central and primary things. Some people will be searching for spiritual things and seek the sacraments. Some people will notice the externals first. For that second group we can't let them develop a false understanding of the reason the externals are present. Otherwise they will simply shop for the most powerful 'god' that does the best job meeting temporal needs. At this point in time it is Big Government. We can't compete with that.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

What is stopping you from being Catholic?

Does being a more welcoming Church stop you? No.

Does listening to the possibly very good ideas at a brainstorming meeting stop you? No.

Does inviting more people to be involved in the ministries of the parish stop you? No.

I don't se the basis for your complaint.

Anonymous said...

A lot of those suggestions might be beneficial to a parish. That does not say that these activities should take place during the Mass. Most Churches have multiple buildings, wouldn't it be better if some of these activities were moved to the parish center either before our after the Mass? There are a lot of active ministries that are conducted outside the Mass. I suspect those that try push all of those extras ministries as part of the Mass have an agenda other than "involving people in the life of the Church." I suspect they want to change who says the Mass, and what is preached during it.

Anonymous said...

The more welcoming people try to become, the more annoying they become. I come to church to pray, not to socialize. I don't want people welcoming me, handing me stuff, shaking my hand, etc... I don't expect everyone to be like me in this regard and am accepting of a basic, "Good morning. Would you like a bulletin?" but any more than this is not needed before the mass. I will never forget leaving one parish I was traveling to and telling a too-interested person on the way out that I promised I will never return to that particular parish after their insistence on unwanted conversation (not to even mention the poorly celebrated mass).

rcg said...

I don't see FrAJM's objections as complaints but actual challenges to the proposal. That seems healthy and I suspect he will reach a synthesis with those positions.

Gene said...

Sounds just exactly like the Baptists and Methodists. Protestantizing continues apace...trying to fix problems created by protestantizing through more of the same.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Brainstorming isn't a Protestant idea. The Council of Jerusalem (Apostolic Council) ca 50 was a gathering of Christians to wanted to draw out ideas on how to respond to the Judaizers.

Welcoming/Hospitality is not a Protestant idea. In Luke 7:45, Jesus challenged the PHARISEE Simon over his lack of hospitality: "You didn't greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet."

Inviting Catholics to participate in the ministries of the parish (Apostolate of the Laity) is not a Protestant idea. "The apostolate of the laity derives from their Christian vocation and the Church can never be without it. Sacred Scripture clearly shows how spontaneous and fruitful such activity was at the very beginning of the Church (cf. Acts 11:19-21; 18:26; Rom. 16:1-16; Phil. 4:3).(Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, Second Vatican Council)

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Hey, how about the novel idea that the people who have missed even one Sunday Mass are going to hell because they have rejected God's invitation to belong to His Body, and have found better things to do than worship Him one day a week, and place Him first, above all things, as He commanded?

How about the novel idea that priests actually believe in the Real Presence and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and try to convince people that these things are true, and explain the implications?

How about the novel idea that a priest ACT as if it is of the utmost urgency that souls be brought into the state of sanctifying grace ASAP (if not sooner) lest anyone under his responsibility who claims to be Catholic dies in the state of mortal sin?

How about priests CARING that souls are falling into hell like snowflakes in a snowstorm for want of hearing the Gospel and repenting of their sins, and doing something about it?

How many priests these days are as urgent about the sickness of souls as doctors would be if an epidemic of Ebola virus was spreading through a city? How many priests are as desperate to save souls as medical profession would be to save lives in an viral epidemic?

How many priests out there are as determined, hard working, and apostolic as John Bosco, or John Neumann (bishop of Philadelphia), and are willing to wear themselves out to save souls?

If the priests don't believe souls are real and are headed for hell, then people won't believe it either. And if people don't believe it, then what's to worry about? Why go to church?

God bless,
Bee