By OSV readers - OSV Newsweekly, 4/29/2012
Connecting through small church communities
Re: “Are you lonely in your parish? A new study offers cautions” (Openers, March 25).
We are members of St. Gerard Mission Church in Edgewater, Fla. About 10 years ago, our Deacon Tom Murray and his wife started a program called Small Church Communities consisting of groups of up to 12 or more people. We meet weekly in individual homes to study the readings of the coming Sunday Mass or other programs. As of now, our diocese is promoting a program called “Why Catholic,” a weekly study of various aspects of church doctrine. Through this program we have made so many good friends.
Our parish is also involved in many other programs such as Knights of Columbus, Cursillo and now Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
When we moved to Florida, we knew only one friend, but now we have a great number of dear friends thanks to our parish’s wonderful programs.
— Frank and Corinne Koehler, Edgewater, Fla.
Re: “Are you lonely in your parish?”
I cannot even begin to tell you how valuable this article is and how it came when there is so much turmoil in my Catholic faith.
I have left the Catholic Church twice. The first was when I graduated from high school and returned over 20 years later when my parents wanted me to have my son receive the Sacraments of Communion and Confirmation.
I remarried and moved and my husband decided he didn’t like the new priest in our parish, so we went to an Evangelical Covenant Church with a wonderful pastor.
I thank God that I was not in a Catholic Church when my husband died after our eight-year marriage. I was despondent but probably would have turned to alcohol or suicide because of the lack of Catholic support. Please do not underestimate this fact. My ECC congregation brought meals for two weeks, listened to hours of my despair and the pastor took me to lunch monthly as well as visiting with his wife.
I am now facing my son’s multiple sclerosis diagnosis and there is nowhere in my Church that I can go to talk, cry or feel the love of God, so I am thinking about going back to a “Christian” church that has friendship and compassion as a way of life.
I have joined four Catholic ministries and this has not brought fellowship into my life. I love my faith so much, but I hate the isolation I feel when I go to Mass or participate in the ministries.
— Marie Madero, Diocese of Allentown, Pa.
Slowly warming up
I’ve only belonged to my current parish a little over 12 years. It is composed of three churches in mountain communities. I rarely attend one of the churches. One church that is in a small community is very friendly, outgoing and welcoming. I attended there for about two years until family circumstances changed. Now I attend Mass in the larger community mainly due to preferring attending Mass on Saturdays. I have been going there eight or nine years and am just getting to know folks within the last three years, mainly due to my retirement and ability to volunteer to assist in cleaning the main church. I still feel like an outsider, but things are warming up.
In my prior parish, I also felt lonely the first couple of years. The community was small but I worked there and got to know people through my work. When I became involved in the parish, with altar cleaning and involvement in altar society and had kids that attended CCD and joined the choir, I no longer felt like an outsider. Due to the distance from any of the current churches I don’t see that happening now.
— Rosemary McCleod, via email
Re: “Touching a raw nerve” (Eye on Culture, April 15). I sense Teresa Tomeo’s perplexity in dealing with the press. It seems the secular press was unhappy with her “religious” request and the person showed it. She attributes his unhappiness as a possible “bad day.”
I would like to offer another explanation. The reason, I believe, is that many people have been led astray by the erroneous principle of separation of church and state. This results in that the farther you put God out of the picture, the less grace, smarts and morals you have at your reasoning.
— William M. Grothus, Bettendorf, Iowa
Re: “A small glimpse of the universal Church in Los Angeles” (Openers, April 8)
John Norton did a great service to the Church by sharing with us about the Religious Education Conference. In the past I was very disturbed at what I read. However, when the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was blessed with such a Christlike archbishop, I did expect better things for the diocese and the whole Church.
— Catherine Duvall, via email
I thank you for what has become a necessary part of my weekly reading — your newsweekly. I quote it often to my classes and have strongly suggested that my RCIA neophytes purchase subscriptions in order to continue their study of our faith. Thank you and God bless you and your work.
— Lorene Coughlin, Avon Lake, Ohio
The April 22 news analysis story “Student loan debt dampens discerners’ calls to religious life” should have identified Sam Miller as the Cleveland businessman who made a donation to help Anna Ciarrone pay off her loans.
Please note: Comments left online may be considered for publication in the Letters to the Editor section of OSV Newsweekly.
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