See? Kinda geeky.
So I have all these ideas and I don't know what to do with them, or even if they're good ideas. But I'll tell you this: Besides the Sacraments, what I want more than anything from parishes is for them to actively be building a Catholic culture. I want all parishioners to stop being culturally Catholic and start living out their faith vibrantly.
I'm so bored with local parishes doing the same things that the local protestant churches and secular culture are doing. I want to see Catholic parishes sponsoring activities that are unapologetically Catholic.
I want to see parishes helping families to create Catholic cultures in their homes. I want to see those families' cultures to then feed back to the culture of the parish. And I want to see the Catholic culture that is thriving in the parish and the home spread into communities so that everyone knows that there is something special happening at the local Catholic Church, beyond transubstantiation.
Of course this won't be a one-size-fits-all list, but I want to see something like:
- An All Saints' Halloween party that has all the creepy quirkiness of Halloween and Catholicism instead of another Trunk-or-Treat.
- Egg hunts, special coffee-and-donut socials, and maybe even fun coloring page inserts in the bulletin during the fifty days of Easter instead of the Easter Bunny showing up at an egg hunt during Lent.
- Parish cookbooks that have a whole section dedicated to meatless meals and education on the fact that if you're not practicing meatless Fridays you need to be doing another kind of penance every Friday of the year.
- But then of course we'd need special bulletin announcements celebrating Meat Fridays!
- Then, instead of having Santa Claus come to a Christmas party during Advent, St. Nicholas would visit the coffee-and-donut social just before his feast day.
- And instead of the Catholic parish hosting a generically Christian VBS, the same one as all the other churches in town, they would sponsor an authentically Catholic, engaging, and fun Totus Tuus youth program during the summer.
- Imagine if all the existing ministries would support, promote, encourage, and work with one another, plugging people into ministries that fit their personalities, stages in life, talents, and needs. Also, this kind of collaboration could and should lead to co-sponsoring larger events like bringing in top-notch, national speakers or musicians or parish-wide picnics with bouncy houses and catered meat.
(We had Auntie Leila come last year. Next goal: Fr. Barron or Audrey Assad or why not both?!)
- Events that are family friendly because children are either welcome / encouraged to attend, or free babysitting is provided are held on a regular basis.
- And imagine a playground that is close to the church so kids can run out and play after Mass while their parents visit. A couple of benches would be even better so parents can sit and watch kids play while their friends / spouses go to confession or split a holy hour.
These are the kinds of things I daydream about. These are the ideas that I geek out about. An entire parish, authentically living out the Catholic faith in a way that is joyful, beautiful, and fun.
Of course with this list I am also hoping that as the Catholic culture grows so will a deep love and reverence for the Eucharist; a strong appreciation for holy orders, religious life, and the sacrament of matrimony; and a true sense of gratefulness for reconciliation.
I don't know if my ideas are the best way to make happen my end goal, my ultimate dream of a thriving, Christ-centered, joyful, truly Catholic parish, but they're where I'm starting. There's nothing wrong with brainstorming, right?
And now a special note to my blog readers and especially other bloggers:
I'm really excited to be part of a special initiative called The Credo Project. The bloggers who are part of it love our Catholic faith and want to share it with our readers. We are therefore putting buttons in our sidebars that link to the website Catholics Come Home. If you have a blog and want to join us in sharing what we believe as Catholics, please grab a button and join us! You'll see mine is already sitting pretty to the right. :)
200 x 200
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(With many thanks to Molly from Molly Makes Do and Kendra from Catholic All Year for creating the buttons for The Credo Project!)
PS. I'm at Blessed Is She today talking about the children of Fatima, the converts of Athens and you!