Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I Try Not to Get "Political" in My Blog

Normally I don't write about politics in our nation or our Church, because that wasn't the purpose of my blog. But this one touches my family right now, so here goes.

An editorial quoted at De Civitate Dei really hit home today. It is titled, "Catholic Church Must Seek Lost Sheep" and I encourage you to read the whole thing.

The premise here is that the Church must reach out to those many families who have stopped going to church. I am the first to agree that such outreach is sorely needed.

Just about four years ago my family changed parishes after transferring the Big Kids from one parochial school to the other. We believe it is our duty to support the parish that generously educates our children. We left that school and ultimately that parish because of some disturbing problems in the school that directly affected Middle Sister and all the other children in her class. We did not just "fade into the night" but had conferences with both the pastor and principal and explained our reasons for leaving. Never once were we told that we would be missed. Never once were we asked "What can we do to keep you here?"

We were not the first, nor the last, family to leave that school and parish. Not all of them found another parish to call their spiritual home. Many of them ultimately sent their children to public schools. Yet so many of them had been hardworking families who were willing to give their time, talents and energy to the school and parish. As more families jumped ship, the school failed and 18 months ago its doors were closed forever. It's tragic, and it didn't have to happen.

We are kidding ourselves if we think that things like this don't happen everywhere, every day. We need people in our church who will "leave behind the 99 sheep to look for the one who was lost." Everyone who leaves represents a loss to the community. And this outreach to the "lost" should not fall completely on the shoulders of the priests, but on a group of caring, committed people who are able to inspire and encourage others.


Sir Galen of Bristol said...

Excellent, if depressing, testimony.

My wife and I are planning to short-circuit the whole process and just homeschool them.

Amy Giglio said...

It's so true. So many of us don't realize that the things we say and do have an influence on others. Small kindnesses and invitations (why don't you come to Mass with us this weekend?) leave very lasting marks. Unfortunately, so do the slights against others.

Anonymous said...

I'm sad to say that this problem is not unique to the Catholic church.
Churches used to be like families. When one hurt, everybody hurt. It just isn't that way anymore.
When we left the church I grew up in, I ran into one of the parishioners about a year later, and she said, "I didn't see you in church last Sunday." "Were you sick?"
It's just too sad.

Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

Paul, it's not just about school. It's about church too. With parish schools becoming a rare commodity, I consider them more and more precious.