Essay about volunteering in church


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I particularly like the mentions on building the habits of getting involved. Thank you, Brice! That is a nice piece that you linked to there about Fr. What struck me is his long-term vision, which is something that we, in my secular business, focus clients on as a starting point—having that big picture, longer view of what you want. Then, getting people involved to build commitment, and again, it appeared to be a longer term approach which built up support over time. There are really good ideas in that article for any parish to consider as it builds up critical mass in lay commitment to the parish and its goals.

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Thank you, Dom, for your comments. Dom is a guy whom I personally know to be carrying the weight of a parish that far exceeds his allocated portion! In the end, it comes down to WHY these people do as much as they do.

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That answer is always: Jesus! Detached parishioners are a dime a dozen. They remain more or less self interested. It shows. Mike—thanks for your kind and embellished comments! Each of us is blessed to be able to contribute in some way to building up the Kingdom—we might as well take advantage of the opportunities in front of us.

God bless. Parishes used to function as actual communities. They held events that appealed to all ages and expected volunteering from all ages. I can remember in my childhood parish, that the big fundraisers were Sunday dinners held two or three times a year. Women did the cooking, men did the heavy lifting, the girls served tables and the boys did seating and cleanup.

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Maybe there never was. What few things that exist are for cliques that meet during the day, during the week. Working people are simply not able to participate. We have masses every 75 to 90 minutes on Sundays. Although my diocese is bringing him in for a few lectures early next year. Not sure why. I would be glad to give of myself to my area parishes.

I am with you on the comment about all the volunteering, etc. Same goes on at my parish. I cannot even go to daily Mass because I have to be at work and all the pastors in a mile radius think 8 AM or other times during the workday are the best time for Mass, instead of perhaps 6 PM or 7 PM when those of us who work can make it.

I am tired of being scolded for not volunteering when it is impossible, or because we are not welcome. I once heard some more senior parish ladies complaining that none of the younger women helped with preparing food for the Christmas bazaar. Of course, the hours were from 9 AM to 2 PM on a weekday. Most of us work and have no hope of helping during the day until we can retire. I would purely love to help in some way, to volunteer, or to attend some faith formation.

I love my parish and parishioners, and I want to be part of things. Not a thing we can do about it. They only want us to take up space in the pews on the weekends, and our offertory envelope. I pray for all concerned daily, and have forgiven them with all my heart, as has my husband. We love our parish, our pastor, and everyone else in spite of everything.

We will not leave for another parish because our parish has been home for decades all my life for me , and because God wants us there. And He outranks all of us. I just wanted to call out the author for writing an article that is full of half-truths and outright un-truths.

And for what purpose? So his friends such as Mr. White can sing his praises?

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It played an important role in training young people to be responsible adults. And when they became adults and perhaps found themselves doubting their faith for the first time, the social aspect of Church life kept them around. The drop-off in new Catholic marriages to almost zero is, I believe, a sad consequence. I think I know why parish life has essentially died, as you put it. Only a very few are made to feel we are needed and wanted. Many parishes seem to only run on a 9-to-5 basis, and if you have to work, have children to care for, or are otherwise committed, it is impossible to participate.

As you point out, throwing money to consultants who want to run parishes on a business plan is wasted for the most part. It is no mystery to me why teenagers, young married couples, and others leave us. When they are not approached to help, and are made to feel they are not needed or missed by their pastors and fellow parishioners, it is very easy to become discouraged and to dread going to Mass at a parish.


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I know very well we are not there to socialize or to feel good for ourselves, but to worship, when we go to Mass. But it certainly makes a big difference to know we are needed to serve Mass, or to sing in the choir, or to assist in other parish programs or ministries. As you have said, it also gives us a chance to know and learn to love our fellow parishioners.


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  • We are not just nameless faces at Mass once per week. And to me, this is what makes a vibrant parish, as the consultants would put it. When I first started volunteering at my parish 20 years back, no one was ever turned away unless they were incompetent or dishonest, and even then, they were turned away gently. The parish did not shut down at 4 PM. There were ample opportunities to be of service. Sorry to vent, Larry, Dom, and others, but this article cuts close to home for me. You must know assume that Catholics do not volunteer out of laziness.

    Pastors and parishes must be a little more accommodating and welcoming. Peace and all good. Perhaps my childhood parish still exists last I heard, it had been merged with several others and perhaps it still has these kinds of events. But in my current diocese of over thirty years now Phoenix, Ariz.

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    Well since comments are about to be closed on this article, I will again express my disappointment that the author chose to respond only to the comments that he apparently agreed with. It makes me wonder about his actual intent in writing the article. Your email address will not be published. Volunteers give a minimum 2 hours of their time on a weekly basis.

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