I have a few minutes now before the sun goes down a bit more making it bearable for me to go out and water the "acreage" (or as my Mom likes to call it, "the estate").   Also, a few more minutes until my niece comes by to "study" by which she means to really study, but only after I tend to her gastronomic needs and we chatter with one another about, oh everything, and solve the world’s problems one agonizing choice at a time.

Meanwhile…  Jason over at Higher Plane has an interesting post about "parish shopping."  Having recently "shopped" for a parish, I have some thoughts on the matter.  As the US Bishops noted in Sons and Daughters of the Light, the pastoral plan for ministry with those in the late teens, twenties and thirties (young adults):

"Liturgy is … a primary meeting point
with the Church. The quality of church life is often reflected in the
prayerfulness and quality of its liturgy, which can be a connecting
point between faith and life. One challenge to that connection is the
need for the community to respect the diverse language traditions,
spirituality, and piety of its many ethnic groups. Consistently, young
adults speak of the life-giving power of good and prayerful liturgy and
the pain and emptiness associated with poor liturgical experiences.
They tell us that key ingredients to good liturgy are a welcoming
community, celebrating in one’s language, good music, and engaging
homilies.

Liturgy is the source and summit of our faith.  Liturgical mystery celebrated poorly, while still liturgical and still mystery, can be construed as an insult to the community.  I have had the opportunity to celebrate mass in a wide variety of styles and with diverse ecclesial and spiritual communities.  I’ve been to masses presided and preached by some of the most insulting persons I’ve had the pleasure to meet.  I’ve been to some of the most amazingly, glorious, well planned, prayed, sung and preached masses.  Have to say, the latter fed my personal (and the communal) spirit and soul.  And I would choose them over the former almost any day. 

I recently moved to a new city and was in need of a new parish community. I do not know into which of the five parishes within a mile of my new home is my bounded parish.  I wouldn’t even know where to go to find it.  It’s not on the diocesan website.  In the many conversations with bishops from around the US I have been blessed to have, not one said to me: "go where the parish boundary is."  Rather, over and over I heard from them, and indeed, in their document on ministry with my generation (though I have traversed across the boundary of that "young adult" definition now), "Go to church where your faith is nourished."  And so I do.   Happened that it was Holy Week when I "shopped" around.  I was lucky to be able to attend liturgies, the highest, holiest, most profound moments of mystery in our faith, at a variety of local parishes.  And they were each wonderful.  At one parish, however, the spirit celebrated in song, in hospitality, in preaching and the sacraments of initiation of new members, touched and resonated within my own spirit.  And I knew I was being welcomed "home" again. 

And so, though I have to get on a freeway and drive oh-my-goodness ten minutes away, I go, now to this parish.  And I’m delighted with the open-ness and diversity of my Catholic Church in whose community this parish is one member.  And I’m delighted that there are other parishes, other types of liturgy, music, piety for my Catholic brothers and sisters who, while sharing the one faith, don’t share the same tastes.

Jason also mentions the supposed parish of St. Blogs.  I’ve had occasion to visit that household as well.  But that’s a story for another day.  My neice is on her way and the roses need watering. 

Blessings on your Ordinary Sunday, wherever you celebrate.

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