As the saying goes, "If I had a nickel for every time I heard that complaint, I'd be drinking Pernod and Champagne on the Riviera." Read on to see where my nickels have gone.
In a parish that shall remain nameless, some three or four weeks ago, on Easter Sunday a survey was conducted to welcome those who don't come often and to find out what could be done to give them more satisfaction as members of the parish. In a parish of some 15,000 members (conservative estimate), one response among others came back with the comment, "would like
to learn more about the Catholic Faith." Since the email address of the parishioners (a couple) was on the return card, it was decided to send this couple a personal response. Since ParishWorld.net is privy to the response, and since we are keeping
this anonymous, here is the response.
I got your card on my desk in late March. I called your number but had no luck getting through to you. Now I read the card a little more closely and realize that you have an Email address.
I notice that you checked the box that says, "I would like to learn more about the Catholic Faith." My wise crack answer to that is, "Don't we all!".
My serious answer is this. St. Christopher has many opportunities for people to gather a deeper intellectual and spiritual appreciation for the Catholic Faith, especially geared to adults. Here are some of them, in English and in Spanish.
Every Sunday at 11:00 AM RCIA Inquirers class 1 hour. Some explanation is required for you to get a better idea of what happens there.
Every Sunday at 1:30 PM RICA Inquirers Class in Spanish. Same comment.
Every Tuesday at 9:30 AM Systematic Bible study in English
Every Tuesday at 7:30 PM Systematic Bible study in English
Every Wednesday at 9:30 AM Systematic Bible study in English.
Every Thursday at 10:00 AM Systematic Bible study in Spanish
Every Monday at 7:00 PM there is a session with the Jovenes Para Cristo group. They are "Jovenes" because they are not yet as old as I am. This is a lively group where the Spanish Language dominates.
Also every Monday at 7:00 PM, and also in Spanish, there is a session of the "Caminando con Cristo" group.
Every year, beginning mid August there is a seven session curriculum that is offered to the parents of the children who are going to attend the Faith formation Sessions. Every one is invited to participate in these classes. Just as with all other educational opportunities, this event is advertised and published on a weekly basis in the parish bulletin.
Every year there is also a four month curriculum for those adults who have yet to be confirmed. These classes take place on Wednesday evening from 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM from late January to Mid May. They, just like every other presentation of our faith, are open to everyone and they are announced in the parish bulletin.
Finally, there is a weekly online Catholic Magazine called ParishWorld.net. This magazine is emailed to the subscribers every Friday AM while we are tucked away in our beds, re-constructing ourselves for the day to come. It is a Catholic Life-Style magazine which uses the Sunday Bible readings as its foundation for the majority of the articles. Please click here and you will be able to peruse the latest edition of the magazine which was sent by email just recently.
Besides what we have noted above, please note that there are other annual events that I did not name, like the final week of January Adult Faith formation Consortium (English and Spanish) and the Bible Camp for children, (English) to which adults are also invited, which happens during the last full week of June every year.
I invite you to feel free to give me a telephone call at your convenience. It's a cell phone, so don't be shy. If I don't answer, it's because I am being polite to someone or some event. I will call you back. Thank you for having the patience to read such a lengthy letter.
It is the hope and the prayer of the parish that everyone receive the spiritual and intellectual nourishment required to be a holy disciple of Jesus.
That's the answer that was sent to the respondents. Now here is my add-on to the answer.
Notice that all of the above is really impressive. There is a lot of opportunity for adults there. I would be willing to gamble that the children of this parish perhaps swallow about 80 or 90 per cent of the educational resources of the parochial operation with perhaps more than 100 volunteers. I would like to point out that all of the above is directed at passive behavior. We have this class, you come, listen and go home and we will have fulfilled your wish to teach you more about our Catholic faith. I know that I will get into trouble for this, but I have to say that we have to exercise some active behavior when we seem to know more about our Catholic Faith. We have to give Jesus some of our time in on-the-job-training. This is the kind of "multi-media" learning that contributes to making us stronger and more convinced disciples. Yes, we have to dedicate some time as volunteers. Sometimes we serve as assistants so that the practices that are needed will seep into the depths of our soul. The nice part about Church work/learning is that it is portable. The Apostles started in Israel and had success all over the world. They learned part of what they did in he Bible, but they learned a lot from following Jesus around too.
Yes, dear Catholic, I enjoin you to stop asking to be fed and start practicing how it feels to be an active disciple.
Yikes, I can see the veins standing up in your neck. You are thinking that some old man like I am can't possibly be relating to the reality in which you live. You know what? I agree. It is up to you to decide at what level you are going to introduce yourself into the working dicipleship of Jesus Christ. You have to decide whether 40 hours per year is doable or not. You have to
decide whether 5 hours per week is possible. It is your life. It is your soul. It is your relationship with Jesus. It is your call to answer the dictate of Jesus, "Go for and baptize all nations, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." When we answer that call, we learn, we grow and we progress, those around us do too. "Classes" are good, practice is better.
You follow Jesus like He wants us to, and you will not cry at my funeral and you will understand why others will not cry at yours. They will know where you are, and what's to cry about that?