Young man shopping for an ‘older’ parish
Re: “Do you drive by your local parish on your way to Mass?” (Openers, June 24).
I guess you could say I’m part of the millennial generation, turning 21 in December. I do have some personal observations about my own experiences about where I go to Mass. I grew up in Sidney, Iowa, a small town with no Catholic parish. There are four Catholic churches within 20 miles.
Most of the people in Sidney attend a Mass in Hamburg, the closest parish at 10 miles distance. They only offer an 8:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday. My family originally attended Hamburg, but with having so many children, often went to Shenandoah, which offers a later Mass at 10:30. A deacon in Hamburg, irritated by my family’s inconsistency of location for Sunday Mass, told my parents to register at Shenandoah. This was about 20-30 years ago, and my family never went back to Hamburg, except on occasions where the time works better and only after the deacon had left the parish.
I went off to college and went to the Newman Center. I was displeased with the Newman Center for a variety of reasons. It was constructed as more of a performing arts center than for a Mass. It’s very wide, has individual chairs, no kneelers, and it just doesn’t feel like you are in a church. I found myself going to a 100-year-old church two blocks away, even though the Newman Center offered more convenient Mass times.
Accepting my internship for the summer, I also shopped around for Mass. The place where I was staying was equidistant between two parishes, so I again chose the older, more orthodox parish. I’ve seen the same trend among my peers.
— Peter Johnson, Des Moines, Iowa
Bringing new ideas
Can’t help but wonder: If these young families became active participants in their “home” parish, would it bring home what they seem to feel at the parish they actually attend? I do realize the priest has a big influence. But as someone who attends and actively participates in my parish’s life, I’d LOVE to see young families participate and bring some new ideas to us “old-timers.”
— Susan Workman, Seboeis Plantation, Maine
Pros, cons of shopping
In the old days, people didn’t church shop. People just put up with what was unpleasant in their parish, offering it up. Now, with the changes in the Church, we are allowed to parish shop. This can be a bad thing, as we are now acting like Protestants, looking for a parish that is entertaining, as your article seems to imply.
On the other hand, it can be a good thing. The modern parishes that have gone wrong have done so in more serious ways than previously. In my five years or so as a Catholic, I have already been exposed to a pastor who preaches in favor of women’s ordination and everything that goes along with that, a parochial vicar who at every Mass completely changes the words of the Eucharistic prayer and other things equally hideous.
Our parish attracts people from 62 ZIP codes. The friendliness of our parishioners is merely a reflection of their deep devotion to God and his people. We have heaven on earth. I will not go back to my local parish unless ordered to for some reason.
— Ann Morrill, Columbus, Ohio
More balance needed
I picked up this publication while visiting a church for the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The most recent headline, “The Catholic Voice in the Vote” (News Analysis, June 10) intrigued me, but after reading this and other articles, I regret my selection. This paper leans so far to the right that I had to put rocks in my left pocket to balance myself.
Either due to President Barack Obama’s recent health care mandate or the paper’s vigilance to pro-life issues, the writers only acknowledged the perceived evils of “Obamacare” with a staunchly conservative voice. There was no great attention that was paid to other social justice issues, which is why many of us Catholics vote according to the Democratic Party.
I hope there is a more balanced tone in future articles.
— J. Rohr, Christiana, Tenn.
Real Catholic news
Your June 17 editorial, “The true story,” was on point. The copious mainstream media coverage of “Vatileaks” and the dearth of national reporting when 43 Catholic dioceses and institutions are pursuing a federal lawsuit defending religious liberty is more than an obvious dichotomy, it’s disgraceful and deceiving. There has always existed a cultured hostility toward the Church by the secular media. It is certainly a sad commentary, but this is how most Catholics receive their Church news, where bias, editorializing and constrained resources are king. We need a strong and straightforward Catholic media, and OSV is on the front line.
— Gregory Maresca, Elysburg, Pa.
I am a subscriber to OSV, and I find it very educational in matters Catholic. I am a permanent deacon serving the Catholic Church in the Marshall Islands, especially at Assumption Parish located here in the atoll of Majuro. I wanted to let you know that the readership of OSV is not limited to the United States, but is also an edifying reading material out here in the middle of the Pacific. Please keep up the good work.
— Deacon Alfred Capelle, Majuro, Marshall Islands