We recently attended an outdoor celebration at our parish for the Feast of The Sacred Heart of Jesus, which our church is named for. While there, the seats quickly filled up as people gathered food from potluck-filled tables. Without much thought we took a seat out on the sidewalk to eat. I quickly realized that we were the only people doing this and it became apparent that we were some of the youngest people there. I had noticed this before, but for some reason this occasion really OPENED MY EYES. I’d be willing to bet that 75% of our parishioners are over the age of 65 and the idea of taking a seat out on the cold sidewalk wasn’t very appealing to any of them. It made me wonder what our parish attendance would look like in a couple of decades….
We would like to find other young families who put their full trust in the teachings of the Catholic Church and strive to follow those teachings to the fullest. Besides a sparse few people that we are friends with; the majority of our friends have either not embraced church teachings fully (Cafeteria Catholics) or have completely fallen away. This makes it very difficult to keep our family and especially our son surrounded by people with like-minded values.
My wife and I have strong enough values to pass them on to our son, so that isn’t our concern. Our concern is that over time as our son grows up, he may wonder why other families and kids are doing things that are contrary to what we are teaching him and contrary to the church. It would be nice to have some kids his age in the neighborhood being raised according to church teachings and yet sometimes we feel completely alone. An alliance of families would be a great means of combating the perverted influence of our secular world.
I doubt that every parish is like ours; there must be some out there with more young families… but even then, how many are following each and every teaching? Is that order too tall for a small community like ours?
After a lot of thought about this, I feel that we are best where we are in order to set a good example for those out there who have fallen away. Maybe we are exactly where we are needed most in God’s kingdom. Maybe by our presence, other young families will be attracted to our parish and hopefully by our example in how we live our faith, others will do the same. I’m a strong believer that the best way to bring people back into the church is to be a beacon of hope for those out there trying to find their way through the jungles of our secular world. It is after all how I found my way back to the one true church and our loving Father.
“Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope…” 1 Peter 3:15
“Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16