Evangelization & Parish Time Management

Evangelization & Parish Time Management June 26, 2014

At New Evangelizers today, I take a look at how the way we manage our communal time affects our ability to evangelize.

I wasn’t entirely satisfied with this post, for two reasons:

Reason #1: I don’t get explicitly into evangelization.

People are going to be upset about that.  I start with the 101’s – if you can’t get to Mass, if confession times are impossible, if attending faith formation requires NASA-like devotion to getting the minivan launched . . . these things are hindrances to the spiritual life. And hindrances to the spiritual life are hindrances to evangelization.  That was my implicit logic, and I wished I’d tied those threads together more plainly.

Instead, I focus on some common errors I hear about in parishes around the country that cause us to undermine our best efforts.  A sample:

Last month I wrote about the centrality of the Mass in our lives, so let’s begin with scheduling the sacraments:

  • If our daily Mass schedule makes it impossible for parish staff to attend, we are creating a spiritual black hole at the center of our parish life.
  • If the Sunday Mass times in the community don’t take into account the typical shift-work schedules at hospitals and other major employers, we may be guaranteeing that nurses, doctors, and others are literally unable to ever attend a Sunday Mass.
  • If the whole community is expected to turn out for Confession at a single one-hour time slot, the message is clear: If you aren’t free on Saturdays at 4 pm, no absolution for you.  

While it’s impossible to create a sacramental schedule that works for every single person every week, it is possible to reorganize parish life to avoid excluding whole categories of parishioners from receiving the sacraments.

There’s a pile more of that.  You could go read it.

Reason #2: Sometimes I think I’ve got a monopoly on stupid power.

I know that I don’t, and that’s some consolation, because posts like this piece at N.E., or my who-shouldn’t-own-a-gun list, indicate that I am not the only chronically clueless person out there.  And since I personally much prefer preventative anti-stupidity measures to the learn-by-experience method, I like to give people a head’s up on things that work and things that don’t.  But my column kind of bugged me a bit, because of course everyone who knows me can give you a list of 10,000 dumb things I do.  So there’s that.

Now you have the rest of the story.  If I ever seem like exactly the wrong person to be looking down on someone, rest assured you are correct.  Not looking down, looking in mirror.

1844_LIRR_schedule

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain]

 

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