Thursday, August 19, 2004

Fiddling Whilst Rome Burns

Well, I can say that I have had another totally new experience as a priest as of Tuesday just past. As I mentioned here, RCIA began for my little trio of parishes on Tuesday and do you know how many people showed up? C'mon...take a guess. One. Yes, that right. One person showed up. I was dismayed to say the very least.

First, given that I had several people mention that they knew of interested parties who would be coming, husbands and siblings e.g., I was expecting about ten. Also, NONE of my parishioners showed up. I guess I need to remind everyone that people who are inquiring about becoming Catholic need the presence of the parish to help them along and to help them integrate into the parish. This didn't factor into my conversion; I would have become a Catholic if it had been just me and the pastor.

Second, this is a shocking change of pace for me. In my first assignment, I taught about half of the classes and the class size was about 40 -50 if you count the supporting players. In my second assignment, in rural Oklahoma, the class was about 15, again counting supporting players. Last year, in this parish, my RCIA attendance was about the same as my second assignment. So what the deuce changed this year? Suffice it to say, I am discouraged by this. I have never really done a systematic one-on-one presentation and am at a loss as how to proceed.

Third, it makes me wonder if I am having any real impact on the parish's life. Call me naive but I think that a good priest encourages the laity of the parish to be solid evangelizers, or at least, shameless promoters of the Faith. But when no one is able to encourage others to consider becoming Catholic, it makes you wonder what all that work and preaching is for. I guess I really haven't been pulling my weight in this parish. This, of course, is good for me to think about. After all, it's Christ's parish. He will bring them back, by hook or by crook, shepherd's crook that is.

Thanks to everyone who prayed and are praying for the one young woman in the class.

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