Monday, December 05, 2011

Bring a Catholic back: a hopeful help to the Archdiocese of Boston's "streamlining" plans

Today our Cardinal Archbishop presumably outlined a way for Boston parishes to "streamline" become, evidently, more efficient by sharing resources.

This is a good thing, don't get me wrong. To anyone who's been at Mass on Sundays during the last few years, there's an earthly problem, and it's called Not Enough Money, Not Enough Priests.

Or, as I like to call it, the NEM-NEP Syndrome.

Now, NEM-NEP is real. Parishes are already sharing priests. In the past, parishes have simply closed down. Everybody's exhausted, it's a real problem, etc., etc., etc.

But wait! Uh...something in the mix is missing here and it's pretty much the elephant in your living room and my parlor, and that is:


Sorry for the yelling, but I did feel the need to wake some folks up. Now I'm talking about the Archdiocese of Boston here, yet I've a feeling this is true throughout the Roman Catholic Church. Again:


Yes, indeed, they're baptized in Catholic churches, married in Catholic churches, and, may they rest in peace, buried out of Catholic churches.

But most Catholics don't participate—not one iota—in the Sunday celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

(Which—pssst—is a deadly, read "mortal" sin. Got that? Sure? Then say it with me: "deliberately eschewing Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is a mortal sin." Now then, what happens when one dies with the stain of mortal sin on his or her soul? You already know what happens.)

What has this do with the NEM-NEP syndrome?

Well, pretty much everything, or nearly so. If there's only a few folks in the pews, there's only a few bucks in the collection plate. That's the earthly reality. I mean, you don't expect folks who think nothing of dissing their Sunday and Holy Day obligations to—what?—send their contributions via Western Union or PayPal, do you?

And if there's a shortage of priests, then what are you expecting? Father Whosis to come to your bedside when you're sick and anoint you? Or to your deathbed to hear your confession?

Those days are gone, my friend. 'Course, most priests will drive themselves ragged to do just that…but the word "most" means "many" and there aren't many priests. It's that simple. Why is that, do you suppose? My guess?


Which means their children don't either, more than likely. And how does one expect a child to discern a possible vocation when he's deprived of the glorious experience of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

Anyway, screw the NEM-NEP syndrome for a moment and reflect on this horrible situation—far more horrible than a lack of finances or manpower:

MOST CATHOLICS DON'T GO TO CHURCH…and, ergo, most Catholics are endangering their souls.

Here's my point:

("Thank goodness, Kelly, it took you long enough!")

My weakness, and I apologize. And I also beg you, while the powers that be at the Archdiocese of Boston and their counterparts throughout the world struggle to manage the earthly affairs of their parishes:

Pray a Catholic back to the Church.

Adopt one, spiritually. At random, or a particular one you've got in mind. Devote your morning and evening prayers to the reconciliation of a fallen Catholic—yep, that's a phrase you can still use—and, even  better, include this reconciliation in your Mass intentions.

And spread the word!

Ask your friends and family members to "adopt-a-fallen-Catholic" via prayer. Sheesh, I get at least six or seven email notes a day asking me to forward some wacky joke. Surely, it's within the realm of possibility to personally ask your spouse, your best friend, your sibling, your parish priest, your favorite nun (nuns are a really good bet, trust me) or anyone in your circle to participate in this project. God, I assure you, listens to prayers far more than He listens to the minutes of a Committee Meeting. (Meaning no disrespect to those who Sit On Committees or Those Who Submit Minutes of same.)

So c'mon! While the folks running the earthly Church do whatever it is they're doing to combat the NEM-NEP syndrome, let's do ours.

Pray a fallen Catholic back to the Church!

May God continue to bless you.