December 3-4, 2016


This seems appropriate in the middle of the NFL season and the season of Advent. I read a book recently by Brian McLaren titled “The Great Spiritual Migration.” He discusses the decisions made that led to the demise of faith and the drop in Church attendance. It is a great book and I highly recommend it. He talks about the importance of shared rituals; habits and behaviors that unite people by bringing them identification and joy. Football fans bond and unite around certain rituals, habits and behaviors which may include attending games in person, watching them on TV, keeping track of scores and team standings, talking with friends about great plays, gossiping about the personal lives of players, wearing team colors, giving gifts with team logos and themes, reading books and magazines about the game, and so on…. I might add playing fantasy football. There are also parallel bonds with painters, photographers and wine connoisseurs, etc. 

As I am reading this in the book I am thinking what are the corresponding rituals, habits and behaviors that unite Catholic Christians…. So I sat down and made a list of some of the “traditions” that we value and that identify us as “fans” of Christ. I began to wonder, why are we so much more passionate about our sports teams than we are about our religion? Is it unique to Catholicism or do all Christian denominations have that “problem?” If you were able to celebrate the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service with us at the Family Life Fellowship Church on November 18th, you couldn't help but realize the passion and determination within the community. It was truly about not only each one's personal relationship with Christ, but their joy in celebrating that personal relationship within a community. I was convinced that their relationship with Jesus Christ superseded their excitement over a Tom Brady touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski. So here is my list of some of the rituals, habits and behaviors by which we bond: celebrating our faith together at Church, supporting charities, volunteering our time, praying alone and in community, talking about Church stuff, discussing homilies and whether we agree or disagree with what we hear, wearing a cross, reading spiritual books, celebrating the sacraments, and taking part in continuing faith formation. 

I noticed that as I am writing these they all pertain to adults and I am glad because if the adults are not convinced and passionate about their Catholic faith and its impact in their lives, then it will come to a screeching halt. As more and more adult Catholics just go through the motions with no passion or personal commitment, we may be witnessing the demise of the Church we love. 

Go Jesus! Go Pats! 

Enjoy Life! 
Fr Coyne


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