Wednesday, August 16, 2006

RISKY BUSINESS by Kathi Scarpace

The other day a parishioner gave me a bit of good news. My parish has recently grown from over two thousand families to just over four thousand families and, from my point of view, feels a little overwhelming.

Commenting on our large parish, she said, “I like having a big parish. That way you don’t have to do everything.”

She offered me a change of perspective and the good news. There is more than enough work for four thousand families , and she had the wisdom to recognize that we can share the load among each other.

Good news can also come from new parishioners. New parishioners come with great ideas from other parishes. For example, a parishioner may know how to run a food pantry because he or she has helped run a pantry in another parish. Or a parishioner might know about bereavement ministry or how to organize a fiesta.

Often forms for new parishioners invite them to participate in ongoing parish ministries. I have never seen a form for a parishioner to share his or her ministry experience.

Sometimes being on the receiving end of ministry can move people to become more involved.

A woman who received communion in the hospital and recovered her health, wants to volunteer for this ministry. A parishioner who came to a funeral reception as a guest wants to help provide future meals for grieving parishioners. A new parishioner wants to be a greeter so that he can meet the parish community.

Parish life is dynamic because it is the life of the Spirit. Openness to the Spirit’s movement, a willingness to try new things and to look at things in a new way make for a lively, attractive, and loving community.

“See, I am doing something new” (Is 43:19), says the Lord.

God’s creative energies surround us, bring us hope, and lead us to joy.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

After 15 years of attending my parish, I ventured 6 months ago into volunteering my time to help out and it has been a very wonderful and satisfying experience. I wish I had done it years ago. I have started talking to my teen children about it and they are also interested in participating. Thanks for the stories you share about your parish.