I have a friend who is Pastor of a big Church. He says it “sleeps” 700. This is a sadly common description of many Catholic congregations: asleep. I know that description fit this Church was not so long ago.
Churches that need waking up have prevailing cultures of detachment and shallow commitment which almost always includes large numbers of people coming late and leaving early for weekend services and a lack of attention and participation during the services (among other problems like poor volunteerism and low giving). Some people think just showing up fulfills their end of the deal.
Yesterday we ended our series “Bread” appropriately enough on the Feast of Corpus Christi. It was challenging to deal with the mystery of the Eucharist for these several weeks…its summertime and everyone is in summertime mode, on their way to the pool, in between vacations; the topic seemed too heavy for the season.
But it went well. In fact, it was great, there seems to be an observable difference in the congregation after this series, we seem to be in a different place as a Church. We said in this series that any relationship requires mutual sacrifice. We talked a lot about our sacrifice at the Sacrifice of the Mass, what we’re suppose to bring to the Eucharist, what contribution or offering we should be making. And evidently people heard this challenge and have started demonstrating some new behaviors: for one thing, people are suddenly singing more.