Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
A big thank you to all those who came out Monday night! It was beautiful to have so many come together to consecrate themselves to our Blessed Mother, and then to have a packed Church for the special Mass in celebration of Our Lady of Lourdes. The number willing to come out on a weeknight was a testimony to this parish’s depth of faith and devotion to our patroness.
One of the lessons I have learned from experiences like this though, is captured best by the expression, “If you build it, they will come.” So often in the Catholic Church nowadays we can be so discouraged by a lack of interest in events that we take on a defeatist attitude: “No one will come.” “What’s the point?” “We’ll put in all this effort and it will be a waste.” Because certain events fail, we don’t put on others. Because attendance decreases, we cut programs, and attendance decreases all the more. It’s a lot like what has happened with confession. We decreased the hours because less people were coming, and then even less people started coming, so the hours were cut even more. Rather than think in dynamic new ways of what draws people in, we feel like it’s a hopeless task.
Looking back over these past six months, we should be encouraged by signs of hope. Our Families Giving Back program has drawn interest from many families. The number of adorers at Monday adoration is increasing. Our Facebook followers are increasing and many volunteers have signed up for our Multicultural Mardi Gras Celebration in March. While some programs do fade as people lose interest, others can start which fill a different need. Every community grows and changes, and one of the greatest abilities of a living thing is the ability to adapt. And this parish is certainly very much alive!
So in these coming months, I hope all of us embrace that mission of finding new ways, new programs, new opportunities that might draw more people from our community to the Church. In a time when so many feel isolated and alone, when so many have lost that larger sense of family which extends to the community, our goal is to make this parish a place where everyone feels at home. Our job is to make sure this is a parish where there’s something for everyone, so that it does become a place where people feel connected. Rather than finding community out in the world, where so often there are influences which draw us from God, what a blessing if our primary community is the community of faith here at the Church, where we can build each other up and help each other grow in holiness.
Like last fall, we will have another town hall meeting in the near future, and I hope it is an opportunity to come together and discuss these sorts of questions. And the more ideas the better – because if one person thinks of an idea and is excited by it, there’s a good chance a number of people might be just as interested. Until then though, please do not hesitate to share any good ideas!
Yours in Christ,