Recently in one of my homilies, I explained the need to be present in one’s parish church in some concrete ways and encouraged people to find more ways to be a strong presence in their Church. I found it necessary to deliver this sermon for a couple of reasons. First, I have had several encounters with people who explain that they do not feel any strong connection to their parish church. Many of these people attend Masses regularly and receive the sacraments. Some of them are even so generous to the Church with their resources.
Another reason to reflect on this topic is that many of us have forgotten how a parish church should be a community. As a community of Christ’s faithful, members need to know each other and grow in friendship. This friendship with each other encourages and strengthens a relationship with Christ. A one-hour church service every week can hardly achieve this friendship goal with each other, a goal that is a critical element in our lives as members of the Body of Christ.
Making financial contributions to the parish, attending Masses, and receiving the other sacraments in the Church is very important in our membership in the Body of Christ. But these are not enough, except when they are the only things we can offer.
What else can WE DO?
A few days after that homily, a parishioner reached out to me and asked what he could do in addition to contributing financially to the Church, attending Masses, and receiving other sacraments as needed. I explained to him that there are too many ways to be a strong presence in one’s Church. This visible presence creates opportunities for friendships with one’s fellow brothers and sisters in the faith, thereby enabling a stronger relationship with Christ.
Altar Service – in our parish Church, every baptized Catholic is welcome to serve at the altar. In the last couple of months, we have trained more altar servers. Some of these people heard that sermon and indicated an interest in serving. We need more people in our altar service, especially middle school, and high school-aged children.
Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, and especially USHERS! We also need people to manage our camera during 10:00 AM Mass on Sundays. These are opportunities to be a more visible presence in one’s parish community.
Here in our Cathedral parish, we also have the bible study groups and the choir – although the choir has not resumed fully since the covid. Beyond these ministries, with the pastor’s approval, individuals can also form new ministries and groups in their parish community. These are allowed so long as they help people understand their Catholic faith better and increase opportunities for a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
If you have any questions about how you can be a more visible presence in our parish Church, contact any of our priests or Vicki Compton at the parish office.