By Matt Keppel
It’s obvious that my most popular posts have talked about reform within the Church, and I’m excited to see that this is what people want–or are at least thinking about it. But, here’s the deal: it’s a two-way street. While this whole idea of change is good and well, change does not always begin at the top. In order for administrators to know what the needs of the parish are, parishioners must make their needs known!
Ladies and gentlemen, this is just as much the time of the people in the pews as it is the time of those on the altar! Having passed 50 years since the convocation of the Second Vatican Council, let us take to heart its purpose: to breathe new life into the Church.This is not to say that as the laity we are supposed to try and make the Church bend to our every whim. Instead, our duty is to make our needs known: ministries, projects, and events that serve the greater good of the community. As in any healthy relationship, parishes can only serve us when they clearly know our needs.
Therefore, when it comes to our ministries, let’s stop being petty. Please, for the sake of all that is good in the world, STOP BEING PETTY! Whatever programs you attend or run, bear in mind the parish is so much larger than you! If your Bible study or prayer group is struggling, it might be time to re-think its role in the larger life of the parish. In a dwindling Church, with parishes that are bleeding parishioners, it’s time to be critical about what we are spending our resources on. Is what we are doing worth the time/money? Could another program benefit more from my resources, especially in terms of building toward the future? Perhaps in the spirit of mission/evangelization building a youth ministry program would be more beneficial? I realize that these sorts of possibilities can be scary, especially for those who, for example, have attended said Bible study since ‘the beginning’. Nevertheless, they are, at least, worth thinking about.
This is a Church that is supposed to serve its people. When we stop to think about our urgent situation, some blame lies with the hierarchy, yes. However, just as much resides in our own ranks. Our parishes and schools are closing with terrifying frequency. We can do better; we must do better; lest we continue to suffer for our selfishness and ineptitude.