In reading Whatevergirl’s thread about having a priest for dinner, it reminded me of growing up when the priest of the parish would actually visit every home once a year as part of the block collection. The altar boys would knock on the door to tell you father was next door and to be ready in a few minutes. Father would come in, note any changes to his census card and we would say a prayer. The parish we live in now had the home visits when we were first married, but they ended years ago. I realize there are so many families now, and fewer priests, but was wondering if anyone still lives in a parish that does home visits?
Something like this is standard practice in Eastern Orthodoxy. The priest comes once or twice a year (during Lent and on the family patron saint’s day) and blesses the water, etc.
I applaud priests who will go out and try to meet with members of their parish. I think our faith shouldn’t just be contained in the four walls of the church but spread throughout the parish. It’s too bad that this custom of visiting homes has fallen by the wayside today.
I’m with you on this one
I guess I would like to see the priests visiting all parish members. The notion of a priest going out to lunch or having dinner with individuals is always a nice one, but I think those old block visits were important for the parish and catholic community as a whole.
In my parish every year during Christmas period a priest from our parish comes to bless our home, to say a prayer with us.
In our former parish priest used to come and stay for dinner, but here in our new parish we are not that close to our priest so he just comes, talks 10 minutes, we say a prayer, he blesses the house and then goes next door.
I thought that that practise was present everywhere in the world.
There is a Catholic community near where I live, and the priest who used to be there would actually go and say Mass at people’s houses. It was so special, I never wanted to move out of this house! :heaven:
It does seem like priests are more open to the idea of spending time with families in their parish, especially families they have similar interests in, or families who are just nice to spend time with. I have to give credit to those families who have invited their priest(s) over, and have made them feel welcome to come, especially on a regular basis. But what I am really wondering is if there are parishes that still do visitations to every home in the parish, even if it is once every few years. It must give priest an opportunity to meet people who might be a little shy about inviting the priest over, or people who are not regular church goers. I don’t know of too many parishes that still do it, and just wonder why.
Home visits as a regular thing? Wow–that is awesome!!
Periodically, our parish launches an effort to visit every house in our parish boundary (registered or not) in an effort to invite non-practicing locals into the church. However, this undertaking is far too massive for our 2 priests, so the vast majority of visits are done by lay volunteers, and the priests will only show up to a few…
I know a parish with two priests who still do home visits. They divided the parish into a few sections and do a section every year. There is a group of volunteers who call to schedule the visits, but it is actually the priests who visit.
Maybe this is why it has stopped. My house is the only Catholic house on my street. In my neighborhood, I know of two others. That would be one long walk for the priest and his altar servers.
Maybe when you were growing up, there were Catholic neighborhoods?
Everyone was Catholic in my neighborhood, well maybe not me because they said my religion was public as I went to public school. :rolleyes:
In the parish where the priest do the visits, there parish is divided into a few areas, each area has a year to be visited. The priest each have a few homes to visit each night for a few weeks. The group scheduling the visits tries to get the homes as close as possible, since they are in the same area it isn’t too difficult. Both priests drive anyway, no altar servers needed as the people are told father will be there at a certain time. I think most parishes have members on databases at this point, where it is easy enough to pull by street. It is a big effort and takes planning, but obviously is important to these priests to make the time to meet the people.
Right, but in your parish, it sounds like the priests are only visiting Catholics who are or were registered at the parish, so it’s feasible to visit everyone. In ours, everyone in the parish boundaries gets a visit, even non-Catholics. So, there’s only enough time for each house to be visited briefly by the lay volunteers. Sort of a spin on the traditional concept of parish visits, adapted for our secular age…
even non Catholics are visited? I love that!!!
Well it sounds like a nice outreach thing, although it sounds a bit confusing about visiting everyone in area. Do they go door to door?
Anyway, I think most parishioners would prefer a priest, not a lay person. Even if it is once every four years. It is a big effort, and I give credit to those priests who do it, and from what I understand their is a lot of positive feedback from the visits. I feel the same way about Communion calls. In my parish it is mostly EMHCs who do them, and I know even if it was once every few weeks, the people would love to see a priest.
If people from the parish are visiting all people within the boundaries, it sounds like they are trying to spread the faith. I think priest coming to your house if you are a parish member is more to check the status of your family and see how you are doing, better than saying hello after Mass. It might give some people the chance to ask questions they might have for father, but were not able to ask.
Right, that’s the point. Except it’s mostly to invite marginal Catholics back into the church, because there isn’t really enough time to argue with an athiest or protestant for hours. But, you would be surprised at how far a simple invitation will go.
There is beauty in an outreach to bring people to the Catholic Church, there is beauty in visiting parish members as means to bring the parish together. Here is a great article about some priests in the Archdiocese of Phila who have the right idea.