Reform is afoot in the Vatican. Pope Francis has tightened the reins on the Vatican bank, worked through a gruelling visit to Brazil, named a new Secretary of State, and is now busy preparing for the October meeting of cardinals who will advise him on how to breathe new life into the Catholic Church. The new Pope’s agenda is simple: spread the good news of Jesus Christ in a freer and more convincing way. Christ stated the church’s mission very plainly: 'Go out and make disciples of all the nations.' Here, a leading American Jesuit has some suggestions for Catholic parishes to better carry out this mission:
- The Washington Post
1. Parishioners and clergy must take responsibility for evangelization. The church is not a spiritual McDonald’s whose success largely depends on its managers, the clergy. Paraphrasing President John Kennedy’s call to service, 'Ask not what the church can do for you, but what you can do for the church.' Evangelicals and Pentecostals have much to teach Catholics in this regard. Polls show Catholics stayed away from church because they were ignored, slighted, or scandalized. Sometimes they misunderstand church teaching. They need to know that they are missed and that the door is open for them.
2. A priest in France has attracted people to packed Masses largely by spending six hours every night in the confessional. (He also wears priestly garb on the street so that those who want a priest know where to find one.) Clergy here need to recommit themselves to the sacrament of confession. They must be available at convenient times for more than a perfunctory half-hour before Saturday evening Mass. Frequenting the sacrament themselves, priests can awaken in their parishioners the need for repentance and conversion.
3. A pope once said that one good catechist is worth a hundred outstanding preachers. Yet there are wealthy parishes that expect directors of religious education to work as unpaid volunteers! Catechism needs to be taken more seriously as a ministry. In many parts of the world, the minister whom Catholics see the most is their catechist, not their pastor. Parents must be willing to be trained and work as catechists. More adult Catholics must also take responsibility for handing on the faith. This also includes shouldering ministries that care for the least, such as visiting the sick.
FULL STORY 10 ways to revitalise the Church