Mar 7, 2009

Here are ways to bring parishioners together

In your parish, do the folks who go to the English-language Masses and the folks who go to the Spanish-and-other-language Masses get together much?

Yes, in many parishes they do, but not all parishes. Sometimes people seem content with the friends they already have, and they do not seem interested in making new ones.

But every parish would be stronger if everyone knew everyone else. Even more cooperation on parish and Church projects than already exists would follow.

The parish schools help a lot, of course, because kids become friends and because parents want to work together for the benefit of their kids and the school. But sometimes more is needed.

One way to bring parishioners together is for the parish, or parish groups, to hold outdoors bilingual Rosary or Chaplet of Divine Mercy rallies -- say, on the school grounds, or by the church's flagpole, etc. Another way is for the parish to sponsor a public Eucharistic or Marian procession along the streets of your community.

Of course, Rosary rallies and Eucharistic processions are valuable and necessary in their own right, and every parish needs to hold them. But they can also serve to unite a parish.

Having a reception afterwards in the parish hall, with light goodies and refreshments, can be a vehicle for people to make friends, right when they are fresh with the glow of the event's success.

Joint sponsorship of such events can work. Already existing committees, one English-speaking and the other Spanish-or-other-language, can join in the planning and can urge their members and families and friends to participate. They can also join in the work necessary.

In events like these, everyone who loves our Blessed Mother and the Rosary, and the Blessed Sacrament (in the case of a procession), can join together. Who knows -- some people might also pick up some of the others' language that way.

A parish festival that has goodies for all groups of people can work, too, but those take a whole lot of work and enthusiasm, of course.

The best way of all, as far as Ole Q is concerned, is for everyone in the parish to get together and pray outside the abortion mills that are within your parish's boundaries -- sometimes lots closer to your church and school than you think. It's wonderful to see how saving babies brings different people together right away and very closely so.

What do you think -- are ideas such as bringing people together via prayer rallies and processions naive? Unworkable? Do you have additional ideas? What has worked in your parish? Please let me and all of our friends know.


Blogger Joe of St. Thérèse said...

My wacky idea, teach all certain prayers in Latin, then all can join together.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous DWB said...

Joe beat me to it!

Have lived in two parishes where both English and Spanish language Masses were offered.

In one, the Mass in Spanish was referred to as "the Mexican Mass" and was subject to schedule changes. About 25% of the parish was Spanish speaking with one of six weekend Masses in that tongue. It was sometimes difficult because Spanish-speaking priests were shuttled in and out of the parish frequently, while those who spoke French or Vietnamese stay longer, despite the existance of few people in the parish who were conversant in these languages.

In the other parish, all the priests can funtion in Spanish; a good thing where it is the primary language of more than half of the people. But there is little Anglo interaction except during the annual fiesta.

On special occasions we have bi-lingual Masses, but there seems to be an undercurrent of disfavor among those who don't understand Spanish. There are those of us confortable with both languages but just prefer Spanish.

While I seldom attend Mass in English, I notice that there are fewer liturgical abuses in those celebrated in Spanish.

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My parish has musical events and lectures fairly frequently.
I always meet people I never knew at these things - for example, at the cocktail hour before "Messiah" this past December, I met a really, really nice couple who goes to a different Mass.

And there are pilgrimages and the parish picnic, etc., where you can meet other folks.

And while I enjoy socializing with other parishioners, I don't really think about it much. I just love my parish and the Masses there and anything else is icing on the cake.


8:57 AM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Joe,

That's a great idea, and old-timers know that that's what used to happen in the Church away back when. It was a bond for everyone.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear DWB,

Thank you very much for your thorough and thoughtful report.

And that's very interesting about there being fewer liturgical abuses in Masses for Spanish-speakers.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Cathy,

Thank you very much for telling about your parish experiences. So glad you love your parish and the Masses there!

11:33 AM  

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