A recent book by Joe Paprocki, “A Church on the Move,” begins with this line: “The Catholic Church has a problem.” The author then uses the events of the Apollo 13 crisis to show how a seemingly disastrous situation can become “our finest hour.” He states that as the Apollo 13 spacecraft was crippled by an explosion, our Church has been crippled by the explosion of the priest sexual abuse crisis, growing secularism (a rejection of religion), and a push towards atheism (a disbelief in God). As a result, we have been “leaking” members. According to numerous studies, the Catholic Church is losing members at a higher rate than any other denomination. An astonishing fact is that if former Catholics were considered a denomination, it would be the second-largest denomination in the United States.
Many people believe that this is a disaster from which the Church will not recover. This is not so, according to Mr. Paprocki and many others in the Church. Like the NASA flight director who believed that failure was not an option, we have to believe that we are about to enter our finest hour – a time in which the grace of Jesus and the will of the Holy Spirit will take hold of the situation and lead us to new life. For this to happen, we need to cooperate. The Mission Control team had to improvise to bring home the astronauts. We need to do the same by working together to solve this problem. We need to adapt to the real conditions surrounding us or risk poisoning ourselves with our own negativity. So how do we, the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Whitehouse Station, make this a reality? We do by possibly recognizing that most effective parishes do not succeed because the pastor is a rock star, but because the parish as a whole is working together. Over the next six months, I will be making a concerted effort to reach out to our parish community. I will not be asking for more money or more volunteers but instead for more unity in our community of faith. I plan to invite people to see the Roman Catholic Church as not simply a place of worship or a sacramental dispensing station but a living and breathing sign of Christ. We need to come together as the body of Christ, not individuals separate from each other. Look to the bulletin and website for further information.
I ask that this week you keep in prayer our new Bishop, James Checchio, was will be installed and ordained on Tuesday. May his tenure as our spiritual leader guide us to make this “our finest hour.”
Thanks to your generosity to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, thousands of men, women and children experience the GRACE, MERCY andPEACE of Christ through the many ministries and outreach programs of the Diocese of Metuchen.
The Catholic Community of OLL celebrates the presence of Christ, welcoming all with love and compassion.
We encourage all to learn and live the Gospel through worship, prayer and service, with respect for human dignity, as we continue on our spiritual journey.