We Can Do Something Before We Become a Very Sad Statistic Too

Friends:

In the Houses of Worship section of the Wall Street Journal last week, columnist Elliott Kaufman wrote an article entitled, Chabad Ministers to Jews of No Religion. I found the article interesting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that a similar article could be written about Catholics and that really concerns me! Kaufman cites the Pew Research group with a number of frightening statistics regarding our Jewish brothers and sisters and their religious practices. The most noteworthy parts for me are: - Twice as many Jewish Americans say they derive a great deal of meaning and fulfillment from spending time with their pets as say the same about their religion; -Only 12% of American Jews attend weekly services … Jews express Judaism through culture instead and from this emanates a different kind of “involved” Jew; -Only 7% say that being Jewish is important to their lives and its unlikely that number will grow in the next generation; Citing the Pew study, the article continues, outlining how Jews who participate in Chabad activities like dinners, prayer services and more, actually seem to be more involved. (Chabad is family oriented.) What about us Catholics? Pew studies have also been conducted measuring Catholics and engagement, and the numbers are abysmally frightening. It really seems to me that we have come to the crossroads. What is the faith that we will pass on to our children? What will our parishes look like? How will they survive? Our faith tradition has been promoting the “domestic church” for centuries … in the home is actually where faith was celebrated, learned about and shared among inter- generational family members. In many homes, it still is. Supporting and promoting a life of faith in the home is more important now than ever. With parishes and Churches struggling, with our leaders causing scandal and giving bad example and causing more and more doubt daily, and with a structure that at times seems to be further and further from the Gospel message of Jesus, its time for every Catholic to think seriously about what does it mean to be a Catholic and how committed am I to learning about, living and spreading the Good News daily. By necessity parishes will change, churches will close and the numbers of those ordained will continue to fall … despite that Jesus promises that “I will be with you until the end of time.” How? Let's think about this as individuals, as families and as a community of faith. What can we do? What should we do? To continue to bring the Good News of salvation to the world. I’m interested in your thoughts … and our collective efforts … before we become a very sad statistic too! Blessings! RSM

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