5 Things Parishes Can Do To Stop Losing Young Families

Pope Francis - Lumen Fidei

Photo by David Calavitta: http://holdfasthope.com/

Pope Francis’ first encyclical Lumen Fidei (Light of Faith) was released on Friday, and we spent some time reading through much of it together late last night. Hey, what are you going to do … watch a rerun of Law & Order or read our Holy Father’s first encyclical? Choices, people, choices!

Coincidentally, our latest post for Catholic Stand was scheduled for today, too, and we were ready to submit a post about tangible things parishes can do to stop losing young families and start raising up the next generation of saints. As we read Lumen Fidei, we found pearls of wisdom and nuggets of gold to weave into our post. In other words, we wanted to strike while the iron was hot!

Head over to Catholic Stand to read our latest post, 5 Things Parishes Can Do To Stop Losing Young Families. Here’s a teaser.

1. Get the Sacrament of Baptism right.

2. Stop offering childcare during Mass.

3. Provide childcare at adult events.

4. Actively promote Natural Family Planning.

5. Proclaim a Year of Marriage and the Family.

Continue and read the full post here.

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  1. Renee says

    Inspiring article, Joel and Lisa! Reminds us to “keep on keeping on” with a few things and get out of our comfort zone for a few more. Sometimes it feels like we’re making anything but headway – thanks for the reminder not to give up!

  2. says

    Some good ideas there. The big ones that I see which you may wish to consider are:
    A) fixing the Mass so that it is completely in line with the Rubrics, and all Church teaching on Sacred Music, etc.. It is not accident that parishes which are offering a beautiful and reverent Mass which embraces the tradition (big and small T) of the Church have large numbers of young families and are also producing vocations. The parishes that are stuck perpetually in the 1960 – 1980’s in terms of liturgy, music, etc. are the ones who are closing schools, where the average age of Mass attendees would qualify the parish for Social Security, and where no vocations are being fostered. Give people a sense of the mystery of God, as sense of the Sacred, as sense of the Sacrifice that is truly happening in the Mass and people, particularly men, will start coming back to Mass. Would we really sing happy-clappy music sitting at the foot of the Cross with Mary and John watching our Blessed Lord be crucified and die? Probably not. Then we do it at Mass. There is a reason that Church teaching, to include Vatican II, emphasizes the primacy of place of Chant at Mass and discourages the use of secular instruments. In addition, Vatican II’s call for increased used of Sacred Scripture in the Mass is a prime opportunity to incorporate the Proper Antiphons, which hardly anyone uses.

    B) Stepping up catechesis so that it is solid, faithful to the magisterium and all of the Sacred Tradition of the Church (not just Vatican II on), and teaches the hard truths properly. Not every single question regarding questions about the Faith can be answered with the word “love” or “peace”. We also have to embrace the cross, as our Blessed Lord Himself told us. Its time to dump the lousy catechetical books which gloss over the Faith and get some which do a good job of it. Its time to make sure that those persons responsible for teaching our children, and parents, know what they are doing, have the proper formation, and actually believe what the Church teaches. We need to stop apologizing for the Truth. Yes, it is true that the Church teaches that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church. Rather than watering this down to the point that people believe that almost everyone goes to Heaven, teach it properly. Why in the world would anyone evangelize if they think that someone is already on the road to Heaven in the first place. This idea that we can reasonably hope that Hell is empty and that pretty much all faith traditions go to Heaven is entirely false and not even remotely consistent with Catholic Doctrine on the subject.

    C) Link the performance of the Corporal Works of Mercy with the Spiritual Works of Mercy. Its great that many parishes have good things happening in terms of helping the poor, etc. However, those things should be tied with prayer, strongly so. In addition, it should be recognized that instructing the ignorant and admonishing sinners, burying the dead, etc. are every bit as important, and given the fact that someone’s immortal soul lies in the balance, probably more so.


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