Why is so had to find community within the church today, or join the KofC?


#1

First please do not misinterpret the question of this subject to be confrontational or disrespectful of the KofC or of the church. I have a deep love for the church and try to explore it everyday thourgh reading, radio and this site. However, I have always had a wanting to more involve with my church life, and cannot really find it today.

I am (what is called here on this site as) a “crib Catholic”. I was an alter boy, have been involved with church service hours, and have join different opportunities to protest abortion in the past. I am a Catholic for life and believe in it whole heartily. I take oaths in my life very seriously. Either being my confirmation to the Catholic religion, the oath I took joining the service or the one I took 22 years ago to marry my wife. I love all three God/religion, my wife and my country.

In my last two churches (Missouri and Texas) there has been very little community to be found out side of the KofC. The lack of personal involvement at these churches with their fellowman has really disturbed me as of late. The same people at church that say “peace be with you” will cut each other off to get out of the church parking lot faster, and will avoid contact with each other outside of church. I guess while growing up, I am use to being involved with developing churches that are just building and holding mass in high school gyms. The priest knew the name of everyone that has or has not attended mass. I remember great priest like Father Leibrecht who came out of retirement just to marry me in my old parish in St. Charles Missouri while I was stationed in Panama.

I guess I find the issue more with large mega churches. I find myself looking for opportunities for bible groups or other occasions to gather with fellow Catholics to learn the word of the lord.

Regarding the KofC, I have contacted my local chapter connected with my church several times, but can't get a response or even an opportunity to fill out an application. I have even reached out to through the national website with no prevail. The problem I guess I have is that I moved every 3-4 years of my life. My father served 23 years the Navy and as he retired I joined to serve 7 years in the Air Force. It seems just when I finally find a sponsor, I had to move again. Even four years ago, I again moved to Texas to follow a job in the civilian world.

Good friends of mine had a totally different experience with a local non-Catholic church in the area. When they arrived 2 years ago, their youngest daughter had to have unexpected heart surgery. People from his church (stranger really) came and watched his other daughter, and then took watch over the sick child for him and his wife to allow them to go eat. They joined the church only a month before. Recently the same friend had a heart attack and the church came running to help. They seem to have a real conection with their church, and are invloved several times weekly.

I finding myself wanting for the same devotion of community within my own church. Conversations with my friends and family that are practicing Catholics have spoken that they have experienced the same. I even know a few others that have left or are looking leave the church, that state this issue is one of the big reasons. I am wondering if there are many of you that feel the same way. I would like to ask what are your experiences and solutions to this percieved problem?

Thank you and God bless. I hope you enjoy the birthday of the church this weekend.


#2

Moving frequently, (in the service of our country–and thank you for that btw), may be part of the problem, which you already identified.

Another part of it can be “mega churches”, which you identified also. Even in larger protestant communities, Protestants generally have a smaller ratio of pastors to members. Paid staff can facilitate some of the things you would like to see. Even if they are not facilitating it directly, they can relieve some of duties that might be done by volunteers in the Catholic church. The Catholiic church once covered many of these things through religious sisters, (who were “full time volunteers” that devoted themselves to the care of our communities.) We’ve had a shortage of priests and religious vocations in general for the past few decades.

With fewer religious vocations, the Church depends on part-time volunteers, who have their own families and commitments outside of service to the Church. Organizations like the KC’s are usually run by volunteers. My parish has a very active KC, and I attribute that to good leadership by the individuals who volunteer. But, when an organization depends on volunteers, it depends on the time, talent and ability of whomever volunteers.

You mention your friend’s protestant church. My husband is a former protestant who converted ten years into our marriage, and for a period of time I attended his protestant church. I’m well aware of numerous wonderful, devoted Protestants who step up to help in times of need. There are also Catholics like that, and I have encountered them personally.

In my observation of devout Protestants and Catholics of child-bearing age, (which I am guessing is the age of the people who helped your friend) a devout Catholic is far more likely to have several small children of their own. I used to step in to help other people with their children more than I do now. It was a lot easier to help out others when I only had one or two of my own children, and it helped me get my own “baby fix”. I know that’s a broad generalization. There are small Catholic families and large Protestant families, but generally speaking, a devout Catholic is more likely to not use contraception than a devout Protestant.

Hopefully, if you encounter any great need, the Catholic Church will step up and help you. I think you were speaking about informal help, but the Catholic church has organized some very formal systems to take care of people in time of need. There are numerous hospitals, charities, adoptions agencies, and other organizations that people turn to in times of trouble.

Since my husband’s conversion, we’ve had several babies of our own. We’re up to eight children now. About the only help I personally can give you at this time is writing this response to your inquiry on this forum about why Catholics don’t help you more. I have been on the recieving end of help from other Catholics in real life, so I can tell you that it is there. :slight_smile:


#3

I find it odd that your parish would not have ministries that you can get involved in. There is no St. Vincent de Paul society, prayer group, bible study group, etc. going on in the whole parish? Even if your parish is very small and doesn’t have much of that, is there another, perhaps larger, parish in your area where you could get involved in some of their ministries? How about volunteering to help with RCIA or other formation in the parish? Does your priest need lectors, ushers, or people to help prep the Mass? What about your choir?

Again, I find it odd that you can’t find something to get involved in. 95% of the work in the parish is usually done by 5% of the people. Protestant churches are no different in that regard from my experience. I have never heard of a ministry or group within the parish who doesn’t need more help.

Talk to your priest or a deacon and ask their advice. Contact someone on the parish council.

Peace,


#4

[quote="Waylander, post:1, topic:243714"]
...Good friends of mine had a totally different experience with a local non-Catholic church in the area. When they arrived 2 years ago, their youngest daughter had to have unexpected** heart surgery*. People from his church (stranger really) came and watched his other daughter, and then* took watch over the sick child** for him and his wife to allow them to go eat. They joined the church only a month before. Recently the same friend had a** heart attack** and the church came running to help......

[/quote]

I'm thinking more about the Catholic health care system since I wrote that lengthy post above. The Catholic Church has organized hospitals that** perform** heart surgery. :heart:

It's easy to overlook some of the help that the Catholic Church provides for the entire community, not just its members.


#5

My husband's experience with our local KofC chapter is dramatically different. They're great, and are at every fundraiser, festival, and outside of church at least once a month to answer questions and help men who would like to become members.

No matter the size of your parish, you should see opportunities to join. Go to a study group, pray the rosary before mass (and meet the "regulars"), and volunteer.

It amazes me that those who complain the most are those who want to have something to join, but never seem to think about contacting the parish, and creating a ministry. If you want a prayer group, help organize one. If you want a study group, help organize one. The church is not what it gives to you, but what you give to the church.

The parishes are dependent on volunteers, people just like us who work full time and have families. Offer to help create the community you want. The best leaders I've met, quite frankly, are those who have been forced because of jobs to move more frequently than average. They usually know how to jump in with both feet and do what is needed to create community, meet new friends, and offer good works.


#6

I think it may just be the parish(es). Our current Pastor drove most of the ministries out of our church, somehow…well, he alienated enough people that the people running the ministries just left. We have almost no ministries left. The K of C is solid but they are kind of running out of younger members, I think. And the ministries that remain are run by people who are entrenched in their roles.

In a large church with tons of ministries, you have to join one to really find friends and community.

I think we could improve in this area, really. Some of the Protestant churches do a much better job of drawing members into the structure and reaching out to people in need. I know that when my mother died in 1967, my sister and dad both bore a grudge because she had done so much for the church but no one from the church was there when we needed them. I’m glad I was too young to get that perspective.

Try to find another parish with friendlier people, even if you have to drive to do it.


#7

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