Racism and Parish Closings – Riparians at the Gate + Jennifer Fitz

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Allow me to connect some dots: If your diocese is currently shutting down parishes, it is possible those closings are the result of many decades of racism.

Why do I propose this idea?

I say it because I see parishes closing in communities where people still live.  Look around your local closing or struggling parish.  Is the neighborhood devoid of occupants . . . or is it that the people living in your parish now aren’t the “same type” as the ones who founded your parish or who enlivened it a generation or two earlier?

I can attest this is not the only cause of parish closings. We see parishes closing or struggling in communities around the world where no major demographic change has taken place other than a persistent secularizing of the wider culture.  There can be multiple factors at play.  Simple busyness and exhaustion are often the reason we don’t evangelize.

But.  If you live in a place where your local parish does not look like the people who live in the community surrounding your parish, ask yourself: Why?

What are the obstacles keeping us from evangelizing our own neighborhoods?

Is it possible that some kind of social bias is causing us to say, “Those people wouldn’t be interested,” or “Those people are too difficult to reach,” or “Those people wouldn’t be comfortable here.”

Even if your diocese is booming — especially if it is booming — your parish may be overlooking neighbors who have just as much a need and right to hear the Gospel and worship Jesus Christ in your parish church.  What can you do to invite them in?

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia, public domain, click through for more details.



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What will you be doing on your death bed? In my February 2014 Death Bed Test Run, my answer amused me: I’d be writing about the Catholic faith. It’s what I do. In addition to my blogging habit . . . I’m the author of Classroom Management for Catechists. You can find me lurking around the Catholic Writers Guild. I homeschool my four kids. I have an MBA (accounting / finance), and my undergrad degree was in International Studies with a splash of economics thrown in. Studied for a year of that at the Institut d’Etudes Politique in Paris, so oui, j’aime all that French stuff. My latest educational frenzy? I’m training to be a presenter for Family Honor. I have an agreement with God that He gets to lay me flat whenever He wants, and I get to whap on the floor when He does it.

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