So what are we going to do?
August 19, 2015
One thing that I always find fascinating is old newspapers, magazines and other records. They can tell you a lot about what life was like “back then”. Even the pictures of what the streets and homes looked like and the way people dressed tell you a lot about the attitude and mentality of the day. These publications tell you something about how much things have changed and how little they have changed. One of our parishioners lent me two old parish books that I hadn’t seen before. One was the parish picture book from 1943 in the middle of the War and the other was from the 70s. “Fascinating” isn’t the word! One got a glimpse of our parish when young parishioners were going off to serve in the military. The churches – the old and new – looked so different back then. A lot of the faces are no longer around. Yet some are! And you are looking much the same today as in yesteryear!
I’m telling you there is something about this parish and longevity! How many of our octogenarians and nonagenarians are still driving around, attending the Divine Liturgy regularly even daily, hitting the coffee shops and taking care of business! One thing I did notice in the pages of faces; couples, individuals, families together was that there was a lot of young people! Don’t get me wrong, there are young families in our parish today and we are pleased that they make Holy Eucharist their home parish. But there was a lot of children and youth then that today would be married with families of their own. I couldn’t help but think, “can you imagine how much more active our parish would be, if they were all here today!?” I started wondering, where are they? Sure, some got married and moved to other parts of the city and even to other cities. Hopefully they are living their Catholic lives somewhere in another parish. But what if some of them just drifted away for some reason or other and are still here in the city and even in the neighbourhood and just don’t come around? If so, why not? That’s an important question.
It might be the secularization, the growing influence of the popular culture that tells us that we don’t need Church and we start to buy into it. It could be that we were hurt in some way or scandalized, because it seemed that people in the church were no better or seemingly worse than other people. Maybe we just slept in one Sunday too many and talked ourselves into not coming again. Maybe we feel that our parents turned us off or the priest. Maybe we got mixed up with a life that wasn’t right and now we feel we are hopeless and there is no longer a place in the Church for us. Maybe we feel it is just too late now etc.
Well it is never too late and there is no better time than the present to get back. But what will it take? Well, they say that many, many people would join the Church or come back if only someone would ask them to. But no one does. Year after year. What about us who should be doing the asking or the inviting? Maybe now is the opportune time to ask our children and grandchildren and friends if they would like to come or come back and see what can be built from here on. We are living in a society that is less and less family or marriage friendly. The parish church has always been a stable place for Catholic Christians to socialize, worship and grow together. But, of course it requires an effort on everyone’s part and it requires everyone keeping the real vision of a Vibrant Parish in focus. It requires a bit of sacrifice and kindness. It means that we can never forget that the Parish is Christ really present among His people and a haven for each and every one of us, where everyone is welcome and everyone’s effort is needed if we are going to grow.