Weigel and Dreher and Parishes
I just listened to a short interview with the great George Weigel on the Catholic Answers Focus Podcast. He discussed his newest book entitled The Fragility of Order (Ignatius Press). Weigel mentioned disagreeing with Rod Dreher's The Benedict Option and proposed that rather than separating or retreating into intentionally set apart groups Catholics need to shore up the Dioceses, parishes and colleges that have always made up the Church. This is interesting to me because I attended Catholic schools my whole life, but my child is attending public schools and just completed the first year of 'Religious Education' at the local parish. My wife and I discussed the big difference between our having a religion class on a regular basis, in addition to religious activities and sacraments as part of the regular school day, and my child going to an 'extra' class one night a week after a long day of school and homework. He will not get a fraction of the religious education as well as the contact with the Catholic culture (such as it was and is) that we received in Catholic schools. When I started this blog I was not married and had no children so I could attend various intellectual, educational and spiritual programs but now, I would be lucky to attend one lecture somewhere. It is the same for most people. The parishes really are the places where Catholics will meet the faith and pass it on to the next generation (or not).
Weigel also mentioned that rather than counting Mass attendance on a Sunday and comparing it to the same Sunday of the previous year, a better way of evaluating the vitality of a parish is in how many baptisms and weddings there are and how many adults enter the Church at the Easter Vigil. This reminded me of another Podcast I listened to recently (The Untitled Catholic Podcast) where a local priest mentioned St. Patricks in Smithtown where 24 people received Sacraments at the Easter Vigil!!!