I have received a few questions ever since I first started this blog and I want to try and answer a few of them. Louisville is being pounded by a winter storm so I figured, coffee in hand, no where to go, answer a few questions.
I am currently serving in two parishes that are part of a larger five parish merger. Lots of work to be done to say the least. Like most parts of the country, demographics are constantly in a state of flux. People move about frequently and so the make-up of parishes are always shifting. Here in the Archdiocese of Louisville we have areas where we can't build parishes big enough to handle the growth and areas where we have parishes almost sitting on top of each other yet the Catholic population has moved out to other parts of the city and as a result a number of parishes are struggling. As a result, mergers are happening more frequently than in the past. A common answer I give when people ask me why there are mergers is that parishes need three things to keep going:
1) Every parish needs to raise up vocations to the priesthood in their parish! And I don't mean one vocation to the priesthood every fifty to sixty years! It needs to be more like every six to ten years. No longer do we have the luxury of thinking "someone else's son" will go into the priesthood. 2) Every member who is able needs to be active in his or her parish. The old days of 10% of the people doing 90% of the work is at an end. Lets face it, many, many parishioners are just flat tired from volunteering themselves half to death. 3) Tithing is crucial. The days of expecting "someone else" to foot the bill is over.
Priests and their parishioners need to work together on raising up vocations. There is more than enough work to be done and we must work together. Every priest along with his parishioners has to have a vision for their parish. Communities don't just happen. It takes work.
Without these three things, there is no other option but to have mergers.
The question that I fear? How old am I! Alas, I am 40 years old. And, I haven't posted a picture because I don't want to scare anyone away. I think I am kidding.
Why are my posts so late at times or non existent? I get so busy that I get behind and end up either posting late or not at all. A goal for 2008 is to really get serious with this site and use it as a tool to help with the parish merger I am a part of.
Thanks for taking the time to write in. I really appreciate your interest and I hope that my homily posts are helpful in some small way.