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.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain]