Parish should not just be a community but a family of faith

Re: “To revitalize parish life and welcome home wounded hearts, we must seek what has been lost: community” (In Focus, June 7).

This article was beautifully written and spoke to my heart. I grew up in a Catholic parish that was a true family community. When I married, my husband and I moved away and, for the entire 33 years of our marriage, have not found another Catholic community where we feel like part of a “family.” This is the third parish we have tried since moving here and will probably be the last. Volunteering, as we have always done, doesn’t seem to be a guarantee of acceptance in a parish. People keep us at arm’s length.

Our current parish has the three elements mentioned in this article: small groups, hospitality and a sense of mission. However, as with other parishes we have tried, the small groups tend to be already established and breaking in is difficult. There are no easy solutions to this problem, and it is disheartening for those of us who have been in the trenches, trying to remain faithful to the Church we love and seeing a lifetime of hopes and dreams for our family disappear before our eyes.

Elizabeth Dreier, via online comment

Eucharistic focus

Re: “Three ways parishes can experience a revival of faith” (Guest column, April 12).

I agree that having uplifting music to celebrate Mass is essential, and homilies that fully explain the Gospel and readings are indispensable. However, I agree with Genevieve Auman (Letters to the Editor, May 17) that, as St. John Paul II said, “The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith.” My understanding is that many Catholics disbelieve in this teaching, which not only makes us authentic Catholics, but also keeps us grounded in the truth given to us by Christ at the Last Supper. When Christ gives us bread, which is miraculously transformed into the body of Christ by the power of Christ through the ministry of the priest, we are commanded by one Lord to “do this in memory of me.” In the same way, when the priest takes the “fruit of the vine,” the wine, through the power of Christ as given through the priest, becomes the chalice of Christ’s blood. We can only listen to Christ’s command and “do this in remembrance of me.”

Without simply repeating what we should know, the Last Supper is the unbloody reenactment of the death and resurrection of Christ, who sacrificed his life to redeem us.

Many sincere Catholics, especially perhaps young people, want to prioritize the lesser elements of Mass: good music and homilies. Inspiring music can be important, but excellent homilies are only “feel good” devices and can’t replace the true worship of the Risen Christ, who helps us pass over from death to eternal life.

Timothy Donovan, Folsom, Pennsylvania

Shroud exhibit

Re: “Up close: The holy Shroud of Turin” (In Focus, May 31).

We were interested in your article about the Shroud of Turin, but surprised it did not reference an excellent display of which we are aware. In the White Sands Mall in Alamogordo, New Mexico, there is a life-sized, scientific-quality back-lit photograph of the shroud, along with an informative exhibit. It is curated by Deacon Peter Schumacher and is sponsored by his diocese, the Diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico. It is extremely well done! Go to for one of many links available on this exhibit.

Patrick and Mary Seltzer, via online comment

Dorothy Day

Re: “Conference presents holistic view of Dorothy Day” (News Analysis, May 31).

How easy it would have been for Dorothy Day had she drifted along with certain other noted Catholics into heterodoxy in the last 15 years of her life.

It appears to be true of her as it was of Blessed Oscar Romero — she was called a saint for serving the poor, and a Communist for asking why they were poor.

Jay Hochstedt, via online comment
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