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To help our Parish grow.

If one was to look at the attendance numbers of some of our parishes these days. You would have to wonder how much longer we (as a church) can remain in existence. The reasons for the decline in those coming to Mass are endless. Covid and building issues didn’t help the problems at hand. Along with a major decrease in vocations and diocese struggling to find priests to fill an ever growing need. Those needs have become greater than the nations but the people needed to help are too few.

We place endless demands on parish leadership to change the course and direction. Yet many of us have already given up. Resigned to our own fate: our parish(es) will close. The question that I often ask to myself is this: Are we willing to give up the fight for our parishes. Or are we willing to take on the challenge head on and not give in?

Each parish has their own set of problems. Some are a bit more complex. At times it can be tied to a lack of over all direction or some in leadership who do not want think outside of the bricks. However a big problem that we tend to run into is a lack of volunteers willing to step up and help with critical roles inside our parishes. Along with some in leadership who may be hesitant to allow lay members a chance to take on a more active role in parish life. Yet we must step up and do something to change the course and direction. Otherwise we have this self fulling prophecy.

A big issue is given the current state of the world that the last thing on our minds is evangelizing. We are no longer willing to go out and actively share the faith with others. Our parishes no longer talk about the importance of doing that. Yet Christ calls us to go out and make disciples of all the nations. We are no longer willing to reach out to our neighbors or those who have fallen from the faith to invite them to come to Mass. We are afraid of being looked down on or hated for our faith. Yet we need to take on that if we want our parishes a chance to grow. To make a good faith attempt at encouraging a fallen world to return to the faith that Christ gave us.

Another problem in all of this is that we no longer pray for our parishes. We no longer put some focus even in our petitions for our parish so that we may be open to God’s will and plan for us. How often during our own prayer time do we include our parishes in our personal intentions? Do we truly trust the Holy Spirit to guide us though these storms? Or have we given up any hope of our parish remaining open?

At the start of any thing should be our desire to pray. To seek the best path moving forward by asking God to guide us to the needs of the parish that we are able to help with. Some of that could be helping set up parish events that bring more out. Another good example is helping with the music ministry either as a member of the choir or as a cantor. The need is always present and we can take a more active role if we are willing to step up to the plate.

We have a choice: We can either give up and allow things to fall apart. To allow our parish to close due to a lack of desire to help. Or we can at least make every effort to change the course and direction. One path is extremely easy and will lead to sadness. The other path is extremely difficult. With endless frustration and at times endless disappointment. Yet the rewards are far more worth it.

What are you willing to do to help your parish grow and thrive? -

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