It always surprises people when they say, “What do you mean, I am not a member of the parish? I have gone to church here for 3 years, etc.” My response, “You are not listed. Did you ever register?” Well…no, but you know me. That may be true, that I know a person; but if they have not registered, they could just be attending mass here because it is convenient. Belonging to a parish at the very least, means being registered and attending mass on a regular basis, (Christmas and Easter liturgies is not a regular basis).
Our Children learn from example. Many adults believe that children do not understand many things; but as a former teacher and being around young people constantly, believe me they understand. They are always watching the adults that surround them, especially parents, teachers, coaches and priests. Whether we believe it or not, our actions speak and teach young people, perhaps even more than textbooks. Textbooks teach knowledge, actions teach how to use that knowledge. When parents skip Mass on Sundays they are teaching their sons and daughters that Mass and God is not that important. I have heard directly from young people that their parents say, “ it is the only day they get to sleep in, we do not need to go to Mass you already went to mass twice this week.” If we push God aside on Sunday, then lying, stealing, being disrespectful, cheating; all of these can be pushed aside as well. These are God’s laws and when we make God second or third place in our lives, morality begins to crumble. It is no wonder drugs, gangs, killing, and robberies are on the rise across this country and even in our city.
I ask every adult to become more involved in our parish. Don’t just come to Mass to get an obligation out of the way, come to praise, worship, and give thanks to our God. Coming to Mass, is not coming to be entertained by the priest or the choir. The celebrant and the choir are only leading in worship. Celebrating the Eucharist means being involved in the prayers and in the music and living our faith by our actions.
Being involved in your parish means being involved in more than just Sunday liturgy. We are so fortunate here at St. Agnes with all the many adult and youth activities as well as our grade school. Our different opportunities to study scripture, our women’s groups and their activities, the Knights of Columbus and their activities, adults teaching their faith to students who attend public schools, the parish council, Bingo Workers, I Love My Parish committee, prayer group of 33 days, adult formation classes, the many adults in our bell choir and traditional choir, being an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister, being a Lector, being a greeter at Mass. There are so many ways for a person to be involved with our faith community. When I talk with other pastors, or classmates about what is happening here at St. Agnes, they simply say, “Stop, just listening to you makes me tired!” In short I challenge everyone to get involved and make our parish a
stronger, more faith filled parish.