[quote=kyleforu]I live in a very rural town and attend a small parish and most of the members are aged, really old and there are no programs. The church is kind of dead, if you know what I mean. Everybody just shuffles in for mass and hurries out to the parking lot after mass.
When I watch EWTN the people on the telecasts make being a Catholic an euphoric experience. EWTN has very entertainable hosts such as Scott Hahn, Fa. Corapi,Stephen Ray and Marcus Grodi. But they present the everyday Catholic faith as if everybody is all caught up in the joy of it.
But when I attend my parish in the real world I don't see that same joy. Everyone is just THERE and doing their bit, if you know what I mean. It is hard for me to keep going when nobody greets me or talks to one another. I want to believe me. Do any of you experience these things at your church?
Has it occurred to you that YOU might be part of the answer to that problem?
Yeah, yeah, I know…you’re just one guy, and I understand where you’re comin’ from. I promise.
But think about St Francis of Assisi who was in prayer and heard Our Lord tell him to rebuild His church. Francis at first thought that He had meant the chapel building that he was in and which had become really run down. If you check out his life, you’ll discover just how radically Francis got the message after that and because of him a great many others did as well.
I guess the one word answer is “VOLUNTEER”. Volunteer to lead the Rosary before every Mass that you attend. Volunteer to act as greeter & usher or whatever. Volunteer to do Faith Formation and build the church up. Find one or two people every Mass and shake their hand and get to know them. See if they have any needs that you can help with. Old people get lonely. Find out what your pastor’s needs are and see what you can do to help him.
Ask your pastor for Eucharistic Adoration, even if it’s only for a couple of hours once a week to begin with and be sure it gets put in the bulletin. I have heard some stories of how that has really turned a parish around. Jesus responds with the Holy Spirit when we get into His church and bring in a servant’s heart. Check yourself out and see what all gifts you have that your parish needs and then start the ball rolling. It may not be easy, but if you bathe your efforts in prayer, the Holy Spirit is the one who does all the real work within people. Be friendly and compassionate just like Jesus Himself. He lives within us, so let Him shine out!
Remember what Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said:
The Catholic Church is like a caged lion. You don’t need to defend it.
Just open up the cage and let it out.
Let the lion loose!