While the Archdiocese moves its office to the East Side and finishes up the bankruptcy case, CCCR and Council of the Baptized are looking forward to a "normal" time when planning for an Archdiocesan Synod and the establishment of an Archdiocesan Pastoral Council can take place. We are carrying on with background work in the meantime.
One big question that has to be faced in the planning: Where are the young adults?
On Valentine's Day, the Council of the Baptized heard Trish Vanni, MDiv., Phd, present her research on the under-40 year old millennials, their spiritual needs, and the likelihood of the Roman Catholic Church's being able to meet those needs. Trish has a project in mind for the Southwest Metro to provide the kind of programming that will serve this Catholic population. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available. Let us know if you are interested in knowing more and helping plan. firstname.lastname@example.org
In many parishes young adults have disappeared. Are there statistics on the number of parishioners between 18 and 45 in your parish? Does your parish have programming that serves the needs of this age group? If yes to these questions, let us know. We can let others know about your success if you want to share. If your parish is not serving this age group, what can you do? The future looks bleak (read "non-existent") without them. Rob Super, St. Paul, sent his thoughts, posted on the bulletin board below.
Another big question on the planning agenda: Are Catholics fully participating in the public prayer of the Church? Can a Liturgy Commission be re-established?
On Tuesday, March 14, the Council of the Baptized Open Forum, 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., will address the question of the Mass ritual, what it means, and whether that meaning is understood by parishioners. The Open Forum is held at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 S. Snelling in St. Paul.
Background for this discussion of liturgy: One recent statistic on regular Mass attendance by self-identified Catholics is 25%. In the 2010 Archdiocesan strategic planning, the statistic given was 33%. If two-thirds of people who call themselves Catholic do not go to Mass on Sunday, is one of the reasons related to the ritual itself?
The Pastoral Recommendations Project, a brainstorming project in the first six months of 2016, presented a question on liturgy. Results of conversations showed that many people involved, weekly Mass attenders, criticized some aspect of their parish liturgies--homilies or music-- but no one referred to the core Mass ritual itself. Not themselves liturgists, they recommended that an Archdiocesan Liturgy Commission be re-established to help parishes improve Eucharistic celebrations
A team, Jim Moudry, Kathryn Lien, Fr. J. Michael Joncas, Fr. Michael Byron, and Paula Ruddy, raised a question about what that silence about the core meaning of the ritual says about people's participation in the liturgy. As groundwork for a future liturgy commission, they have posed questions about the official meaning of the ritual in a working paper used with pastors and lay liturgists in two sessions in October, 2016, and January, 2017. The questions posed: What is God doing in the eucharistic ritual? What are the people doing? In the answer to those two questions is the official meaning of the ritual. The next questions are whether Catholics are fully participating in the public prayer of the Church and what can be done to help them if they are not?
Could you articulate the meaning that the Church wants to communicate through the ritual? Please come to the March 14 Open Forum and let us know whether the meaning of the ritual as celebrated in your parish is clear to you.
From Rob Super, St. Paul, on millennials:
ur children (and many adults) are leaving because the ordained church leaders (bishops and priests) almost in their entirety left Jesus first. The church may still be Roman and Catholic but it doesn't appear to me to be very Christian at all. Many of those pouring out of the doors today are leaving a Church that is pretty much spiritually empty.
It would be a different matter if people were leaving the church because the challenges of living as Jesus lived are too difficult, but I think almost no one leaves for that reason because we are not taught about the demands of self-sacrificing love in any believable, mature, coherent way.
Perhaps the continuing lack of priests and the coming lack of money (as membership dwindles and legal settlements are paid) will force something new to arise. If it is truly grounded in Jesus' challenge to love our enemies, our children will come back. Until then I think our children are simply the 'canaries in the mine.'