Should We Petition The USCCB?


#1

It occures to me that some Catholics aren’t having their “needs” met at their local parishes. Obviously, our primary need at Church is to worship God; the fact remains, however, that we are commanded to do more than worship as a Church. It seems that in an effort to please all of the people all of the time, we are pleasing few of the people most of the time. While the primary focus of each parish, the Eucharistic, remains the same, a concerted effort should be made to “tailor make” parishes to suit the spiritual/sociological/evangelical needs of every community.

I propose the following solution:

  1. Create “Family” parishes in every moderatly sized city, and advertize them as such. This parish will encourage family activities, like picnics, youth retreats, lock-ins, “Parent’s Night Outs”, and Sunday School classes that actually teach bible stories and make kids memorize verses* - *if the Protestants can have fun with it, so can we! The priests will receive instruction from their bishops to give family-oriented homilies, focusing on “obey thy mother/father”, love one another, love of Christ, latria and dulia, basic worship, and “Golden Rule” subjects.

  2. Create “Apologetics” parishes in every moderately sized city, and advertize them as such. This parish will help create Apologists for the “New Evangelization” of the Catholic faith, and would have apologetics Bible study classes, materials, seminars, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew classes, and audio/library/tract resources at each parish. Homilies will consist nearly exclusively of apologetics and evangelization exegesis, and the laity will fund/host “mission trips” to bring the Light of Christ to those who don’t know it. Perhaps these priests should be Jesuits…but that is really secondary.

  3. Create “Mature” parishes in every moderately sized city, and advertize them as such. Wheelchair and walker access, no kneelers, wide pews, soft seats, and lots of Rosaries and Eucharistic worship. Create an ***army ***of little old ladies with Rosary beads and the love of Christ. Priests will give homilies on age-appropriate topics, and focus on how to unite the suffering of each of the members to the suffering of Christ.

  4. The remaining parishes will stay as they are now. As only one or two of each of the “Focus” parishes would be required per major city, there should be only a fairly minimal impact on those who “like it the way it is”.

Rotate priests through, but not at the expense of “specialists”. Bishops will determine, with congregational feedback, who the “specialists” are.

What do you think? Am I off my rocker, or should we petition the USCCB?

In Christ,
RyanL


#2

I don’t think different types of parishes should be created for different “needs.” The only “needs” a parish has is orthodoxy, loyalty to Church’s teachings, and availability of the sacraments. A parish that has an orthodox Catholic pastor, rather than a modernist sister acting as “pastoral associate” will develop into a marvelous parish on its own. That is all. Creating different parishes for different purposes is Protestant to the core and has no place in our Catholic (universal, whole) religion. A parish will cultivate its own charisms and such on its own over time. All that is needed is orthodoxy, and strong devotion to and reverence for the Holy Eucharist.
Protestant-type sunday school classes? How about just keeping the CCD classes, but teach from the catechism (or one based on it) rather than making collages and fingerpainting?
BTW, things like lock-ins for the kids tend to be primarily social outlets for them instead of places where they can grow in the faith. Trips to religious sites, such as historic basilicas and cathedrals and shrines are preferable to amusement parks.
The most important thing though is Eucharistic adoration. Any parish that encourages Eucharistic adoration–perhaps beginning with one day a week, increasing that to every day, forty hours devotion, and perpetual adoration–will experience tremendous blessings from God. And how about creating an army of everyone with rosary beads?


#3

I like ideas… and I must say yours are very creative. :slight_smile: Please, do pursue them, and my support is with you, though I think about this issue differently.

You know, what I miss in Catholicism is the ability to cutivate a sense of family or community because of the nauseating size of each parish. Many Protestant and Orthodox chruches can have a strong family feel because they are smaller, contain more than simply a dedicated core of individuals, and see their parish expereince as a social event as well, followed by fellowship meals, coffee hours, etc. There are certainly ways we can create that enviroment in our own parishes, but we must make more strides than simply “social event,” “bingo,” or “picnic.” (We try and force a community spirit, honestly). The apostolic Church was a far different church than ours in one dynamic respect: fellowship and true brotherhood… forged thrugh persecution, mutual self-sacrificing love, and strong mission.

Perhaps creating a “family parish” would be more detrimental in that respect --lots of kids (crying I might add, lol), lots of ways to get lost in parish life and make it a fast-food service. I “eat here because my kids like it.” Still, can we make a particular mass time for families within regular parishes? Can the families step up!? I mean… we have a children’s Mass in the missal, but our poor priests are too involved with the spiritual care of 2000+ parshoners to assess the needs of families and take great care to meet them all. We need to establish that environment within our own parish, as the laity. It’s said that a nation can never rise above its leader… I believe the people can be empowered to lift ther leader up (and their overworked church secretary and Rel. Ed director for that matter, lol).

Mind you… there will always be some in the parish who won’t participate… that’s fine… everyone has different needs. But can we as the laity sit down and say, what do i want church to contribute to my life… and then assess what we can contribute to it? Without contacting the Archdiocese? From small groups, to Liturgies of the Word or Hours within our homes with friends, to special adoration fellowships, to lay-driven apologetics classes… the possibilities are as endless as the number of inactive Catholics out there who aren’t plugged in. More than simply saying ‘Peace be with you,’ or holding hands at the Lord’s prayer, we should be looking for ways to bring that peace to our brother in Christ, and hold our sister’s hand in this valley of the shadow of death.

Can we make our own parish the family parish, the apoogetics parish, and everythign else an ideal Catholic Church should be?

That being said… haha… an apologetics parish sounds cool. :slight_smile:


#4

[quote=Anima Christi]I don’t think different types of parishes should be created for different “needs.” The only “needs” a parish has is orthodoxy, loyalty to Church’s teachings, and availability of the sacraments. A parish that has an orthodox Catholic pastor, rather than a modernist sister acting as “pastoral associate” will develop into a marvelous parish on its own. That is all. Creating different parishes for different purposes is Protestant to the core and has no place in our Catholic (universal, whole) religion. A parish will cultivate its own charisms and such on its own over time. All that is needed is orthodoxy, and strong devotion to and reverence for the Holy Eucharist.
Protestant-type sunday school classes? How about just keeping the CCD classes, but teach from the catechism (or one based on it) rather than making collages and fingerpainting?
BTW, things like lock-ins for the kids tend to be primarily social outlets for them instead of places where they can grow in the faith. Trips to religious sites, such as historic basilicas and cathedrals and shrines are preferable to amusement parks.
The most important thing though is Eucharistic adoration. Any parish that encourages Eucharistic adoration–perhaps beginning with one day a week, increasing that to every day, forty hours devotion, and perpetual adoration–will experience tremendous blessings from God. And how about creating an army of everyone with rosary beads?
[/quote]

Well, you just shot a hole in what the Church most certainly did and still does in the United States, as there were, and still are, ethnic parishes.


#5

yes, you are very creative, but stop and look at the damage creativity has done to the Church in recent years. The parish consists of all the Catholics residing in its geographic boundaries, or its other area defined by ethnic group, rite or what not. Every parish should have an army of old ladies (and men, and younsters) armed with rosaries, should exist for the primary purpose after the public worship of the Church of supporting families and handing on the faith. What we don’t need, but what we have now are parishes where you can liturgy-shop, homily-shop, and confession-shop to hear what you want to hear and assuage your own comfort level. We don’t need to ask the bishops to do it, it already exists.


#6

It seems as though the concensus so far is that I’m off my rocker - which is fine; that’s why I asked. :smiley:

I have a few comments, however…

[quote=Anima]Protestant-type sunday school classes? How about just keeping the CCD classes, but teach from the catechism (or one based on it) rather than making collages and fingerpainting?
[/quote]

Because even in Catechism based classes us “cradle Catholics” grow up not knowing the Bible! When we’re older, a Protestant comes along with a few “pet” verses and lead us astray. This wouldn’t happen if we knew our Bibles, and right now there’s no program to teach them to us. There’s no reason the Protestants should have an advantage here - it’s our book!

That’s half the point! Get Church to feel to kids like a place you want to go. Make sure all of their friends are there, and make them look forward to it as youths. With God’s grace, they’ll keep looking forward to Church as they learn their theology. This is opposed to how it is now where I see it - kids rolling their eyes, coloring during consecration, playing with toys, etc., and growing up with an apathy towards being there at all.

What really kills me is that Protestants are still able to foster this feeling at their “mega churches”. This is why I’m unabashedly stealing some of their ideas!

[quote=Adventistnomore]Perhaps creating a “family parish” would be more detrimental in that respect --lots of kids (crying I might add, lol), lots of ways to get lost in parish life and make it a fast-food service.
[/quote]

I see what you’re saying, and you have a legitimate point. I wonder, however, if the “fast-food mentality” isn’t already present at 95% of the parishes in the US.

[quote=Puzzle Annie]stop and look at the damage creativity has done to the Church in recent years. The parish consists of all the Catholics residing in its geographic boundaries, or its other area defined by ethnic group, rite or what not. Every parish should have an army of old ladies (and men, and younsters) armed with rosaries, should exist for the primary purpose after the public worship of the Church of supporting families and handing on the faith
[/quote]

.
You’re correct, I suppose. How do we get the parishes that we want, however? I have contributed all sorts of apologetics resources to my parish, I bring the Eucharist to the home-bound, I introduce myself to the people who look like they want to meet me (smile and wave and routinely say Hi folks)…and still the homilies are poor, the music is rotten, the social functions are non-existant, and I could complain on and on. I love to go, and try to go daily, but it’s because I long for heavenly food (and not because I have a very good parish). I refuse to hop, shop, or swap, but how am I supposed to get the parish I want out of the parish I have?

God bless,
RyanL


#7

I cannot think of anything wrong with this Ryan. Perhaps however that the style of church need not change per se, rather, the extra-ecclesial activites it sponsors could change. The parish priest could offer a weekly apologetics class, and possibly exegete that week’s readings. For teenagers, some parishes have the Lifeteen program, which has its own mass for teens including modern worship music etc. I think?

Many protestant churches are big into the advertising and promoting of their churches (they have to be or else face bankruptcy). It was actually a bit humerous, during a sermon at Bay Area Fellowship here, the pastor threw out statistics like “4 out of 5 churches fail in their first 5 years, so we are going to change that!” inspiring :rolleyes: Anyways, I see no problem with the Catholic Church advertising to increase attendance. It should promote retreats/classes/study sessions etc. I suppose the Bishop could determine the priest (in the general area) who is most specialized in the particular regions of study, and then appoint him to teaching the classes. In this way, multiple parishes could take advantage of the one class, thus promoting more of an inter-parish unity.

So I guess the style of mass doesn’t need to change, just the extra-ecclesial (if that is the right phrase) opportunities for the parishioners to take advantage of.

Michael


#8

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