View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Monday, September 10, 2007

That dreaded homily

Well, Father Steve delivered that dreaded homily yesterday.

No, not about hell, damnation or the begats.

Money.

As in we don't get enough in the collection.

We are currently averaging about $2,000 per week below the budgeted amount. We''ve already had to let one staff person go. Father hinted that even more dire things may happen.

He should have just come out and said that given the ongoing consolidating/merging of parishes, a financially troubled one is more likely to be closed.

He had stats. He went back three years (to when he arrived) and noted that some 200 registered parishioners had given nothing over that span. 200 more had given less that $100 in that span, and some 300 had given between $100 and $500 over the three years.

Mind you, some of those folks may have given cash, and so there were no official records on how much they gave. (Indeed, because I sometimes forget the envelope, the parish records indicate I've given about a $1,000 less than I actually have.) We also have a parish with a lot of seniors on fixed incomes who can't afford much.

Still, 400 gave less than $100 over three years?

So how do you get people to give without getting them so mad they refuse to give? Better homilies? Charisma?

Any ideas out there?

3 Comments:

Anonymous bill bannon said...

Lee
Thanks for a realistic view into everyday reality in Catholicism. Here is my answer which will not be implemented for another three thousand years: our people are asleep because our homilies are slowly pronounced (why...no one quite knows)and usually boring (Joyce Meyers on TV is a better speaker than our very best and its partly because she actually loves the Bible rather than subtracting from it like our bibliical scholar class(notwithstanding her separated brethern errors which rarely feed into the TV sermons))....and the liturgy needs an entire renewal so that it has parts that are dedicated to praying for those in the world who are really in danger of damnation. As it stands the Mass seeks to praise God and to pray for us mainly. What if it also did what the Good Shepherd did...leave the 99 just and go in search through prayer for those who are in danger of hell for a full 5 minutes. That would be linking us to the adventure of Christ who came seeking sinners like Mary Magdalene and Saul on his horse. Then parishioners would have a sense of adventure each week because they would... like Christ ....seek the lost.
Our sermons too need speeding up for sure. Turn on EWTN Mass sermons then switch back and forth between our sermon and Joyce Meyers or CreFloDollar or even that grey haired guy in the grey suit.....we talk slow for no apparent reason and during two of our sentences in a homily, Joyce Meyers has made a point and gotten a laugh and moved on. Toynbee was not entirely incorrect in seeing us as having aspects of an arrested and too mimetic culture.
And Mass needs to have a feedback period in which the priest fields questions. Don't worry. None of this will happen and in a thousand years, we'll still be talking slowly with no real love of various parts of scripture which our biblical footnotes attribute to the culture of the day only...anyway.
But thanks for a thread that actually paints us as just perhaps having a problem....and one that Latin will not solve.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Interesting points, Bill.

Bad preaching is a problem. We have some pretty mediocre preachers at the parish - the pastor is the best, but he's intellectual. He's a good man, and the thoughts are there, but the passion does not come across.

We need inspiration.

Latin is not the answer!

8:00 PM  
Anonymous bill bannon said...

Lee
I will never leave the Church. She has the fullness of the means to salvation and is at Her core...what Christ intended. But it is the outer crust...outside the core...that is the problem. And the outer crust is believed by many to actually be the core. Crust: the summer home for the Pope at Castel Gandalfo for the month of August only. Crust: no clergy including the Popes memorize Scripture like Aquinas, Jerome and Augustine did....and like Baptist janitors and security guards do in the black ghetto. Peace....persevere...never take the crust for the core.

8:49 PM  

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