July 1, 2018

Friends,

I admire parents, and in some cases grandparents, who are determined that their children or grandchildren will receive the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation.  But in many cases, I’m  realizing it’s much more of a cultural motivation than a spiritual one.  In some of these situations, coming to church each week is included in the commitment, but in many cases it’s only about attending religious education or Catholic School.  I am really impressed when I realize the adult is not just coming to church as an example, but because they have made a personal decision that church is a part of their life, and celebrating at Mass each week is part of who they are.  So if the child or grandchild is away for a weekend or longer, the adults continue to come to church by themselves.  To me, this is an indication that the adult has a personal relationship with Christ that is beyond any obligation to raise their child or grandchild in the Church. 

I can’t tell you how impressed I am so often by adults who celebrate at church every week with their child/grandchild prior to First Communion.  But in some cases, I never see either one of them in church again for  years.  And I wonder who is making those decisions and why.  Does the adult actually tell the child:  “OK, we did what we were supposed to do, so now we don’t have to go to church anymore.”  Or does the child tell the adult:  “OK, I did what you wanted me to do, but I don’t want to go anymore.”  Does the discussion ever take place, or is it just understood, and neither mentions it again.  Unfortunately, most children are not going to get up on Sunday and remind their parents/grandparents that they want to go to church.  So I’m assuming that in most cases the adults aren’t willing or able to make that commitment.  I believe we are now seeing the repercussions of those decisions and how it affects parish life spiritually and financially.

The Catholic Church somehow has to convince our parishioners that true disciples are those who make a personal commitment to live as Christ lived.  At the same time, we want them to celebrate their faith in the parish community weekly.  We are blessed with their presence, and I want to believe that being a vibrant part of the parish enhances their lives.

This message may sound a little discouraging.  But there is so much energy out there, and in many cases the Church is not a beneficiary.

Enjoy Life!
Fr. Coyne

 

 

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