I used to go to a lively parish downtown that had great music and homilies. Then my visits tapered off as gas prices rose and parking got to be a problem. I live right by a seminary that offers good masses, yet I still like to check in with Old St. Pat’s.
Sometimes my friend Sheila and I would meet downtown, go to mass and have lunch. I saw Sheila last week and she gave me a bulletin from OSP. Whoa, I’ve been disenchanted with them as I feel they’ve gotten to be a rich people’s church. They do plenty for the poor, but in many ways I feel they’re a victim of their own success and don’t realize how they alienate people who aren’t wealthy. Case in point – I hunted through the bulletin looking for a spiritual program or talk I could attend in the next month. Nothing. There’s groups for various demographics, young adults, older adults, AA — all very worthwhile groups, but what about something for anyone in the parish? What about something like a Bible Study or prayer group? Last summer I enjoyed a weekly Catholic book group.
I did see one thing in the bulletin,something that shocked me. There will be a meditation series forming, but it’s $495! Are you kidding? I’ve participated in meditation groups in Japan, Korea and Texas and they were always free. I’ve led one based on John Main’s teaching. There’s no need for anyone to pay hundreds of dollars to learn to meditate. None.
How does a parish in this economy offer such a high priced series? It shows a disconnect.
I know January is a slow month, but I think a vibrant parish can do more to promote community.