Allow me to connect some dots: If your diocese is currently shutting down parishes, it is possible those closings are the result of many decades of racism.
Why do I propose this idea?
I say it because I see parishes closing in communities where people still live. Look around your local closing or struggling parish. Is the neighborhood devoid of occupants . . . or is it that the people living in your parish now aren’t the “same type” as the ones who founded your parish or who enlivened it a generation or two earlier?
I can attest this is not the only cause of parish closings. We see parishes closing or struggling in communities around the world where no major demographic change has taken place other than a persistent secularizing of the wider culture. There can be multiple factors at play. Simple busyness and exhaustion are often the reason we don’t evangelize.
But. If you live in a place where your local parish does not look like the people who live in the community surrounding your parish, ask yourself: Why?
What are the obstacles keeping us from evangelizing our own neighborhoods?
Is it possible that some kind of social bias is causing us to say, “Those people wouldn’t be interested,” or “Those people are too difficult to reach,” or “Those people wouldn’t be comfortable here.”
Even if your diocese is booming — especially if it is booming — your parish may be overlooking neighbors who have just as much a need and right to hear the Gospel and worship Jesus Christ in your parish church. What can you do to invite them in?
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