August 5, 2018


Most of us who are older and were raised Catholic have a very strong parish identity (especially if wewere brought up in the city). Parish life was centered around the church and the church hall. It was all about CYO activities and parish schools. Every parish had a Christmas bazaar and weekly dances; there were parish shows, CYO sports (basketball, baseball, softball, hockey) and many parishes had a band, a drill team or drum corps. These were all social opportunities that kept most if not all of us committed to the Catholic Church and/or our local parish.  Of course, families were much larger, costs were a lot less, and there was not a lot of competition with other organizations. It was a wonderful time in the history of the Catholic Church. Naturally, all of this activity assumed a strong spiritual relationship with your parish (Sunday Mass, May Processions Missions, weekly Confession and religious education). The teenager not involved in all of the above was the exception to the rule. I grew up in this environment at Holy Name Parish, and it was all about parish pride and parish identity. Wherever you went, you represented your faith community.

For the most part, parish life has changed drastically. There are parishes that attempt to continue some of these opportunities, but they are few and far between today. It is a different world and a different time. So, what will replace parish life and the neighborhood parish?

I read an article recently that spoke about the attraction of the new movements in the Church and the impact they will have today’s family. I will list four of these “movements”. You may or may not be familiar with them, but you can “Google” them if you choose. They are all very traditional, and I do not agree with the direction they take the Church. The names of these movements are: Opus Dei, The Neocatechumenal Way, Communion and Liberation, and Focolare.  Many if not all have their beginnings in other countries, and have now made their way to the United States. They tend to be exclusive and isolated from the parishes as we know them. Those who belong to these movements feel most comfortable when surrounded by others who “belong.” Some of these movements have established their own parishes.

The article indicated that in place of the parish identity that made us who we were and gave us a strong Catholic identity, tomorrow’s Catholics would gravitate to identify with a “movement” which would be without physical boundaries and would center much more on orthodoxy as the sign of membership.

In the Catholic Church that I love, all are welcome to celebrate with us as we each discern how God is calling us and how we can best live out our Christianity. We are very “inclusive.” Some who belong to these movements are very secretive about their membership, for some reason. How times have changed.

Enjoy Life!

Fr. Coyne


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