What I’ve Wanted to Tell Parents for a Looooonnnnnnggg Time

This priest nails it. Just. Nails. It.

For the past 12 years I have been a pastor of a parish or multiple parishes with parochial schools attached to them.

I’m not a pastor, but I’ve been involved in faith formation ministry for 15 years or so. I feel his pain.

Over the years they have been a great source of joy for me in watching these children grow and watching faith blossom….

One of my joys has been seeing that spiritual light bulb go off over their heads.

I know that their parents are partners in this endeavor. I see some parents make great efforts to get their children to Sunday Mass, teach them the truth of faith, support the parish and school, and carry the rest of load of their very busy schedules. I admire their dedication. I know my principals and teachers do as well.

This said, the same institution that exalts my heart also crushes it. I would estimate that about a third of my students over the years do not go to Mass on the weekend. That number rises significantly after they graduate from 8th grade. After 19 years of priesthood, I know what will usually happen. These young bright faces will wander further and further away from faith, mimicking the minimalism of their parents. I grieve that the blossoming of faith will be truncated and is actively being undone by those charged with the primary duty of handing on true faith in Jesus Christ. I had one brother priest refer to this as spiritual child abuse. Harsh words, I thought, but true words.

I love that phrase: spiritual child abuse. Quite accurate. We actually had one parent get in the face of one teacher and berate her for teaching that Sunday mass attendance was a requirement. “I’ll teach my kids about how often to go to church!” he said. Literally, someone unclear on the concept. I was dreading getting those children in my grade, which would have been three years later. Fortunately – or even more so, unfortunately – I never did. The parents never brought their kids back, even for just the Wednesday night classes. I’m sure their Sunday obligation turned into their Sunday sleep in late. /sigh

I hear plenty of excuses from these other parents. I know some work on weekends because of the nature of their jobs. But that is not the case for all. It is spiritual sloth. When we teach our children that it is okay and necessary to take from God the one hour of liturgical worship He asks for a week, what are we telling our child about the faith as a whole?

I told my students each year that I expect their respect for the hours I put into preparing the lessons, getting ready for class, taking hours out of my week for them, the money I put into supplies, etc. It didn’t mean I got respect, but I asked for it. I work full time and still volunteer, yet we can’t get parents to bring their kids to mass, or even to class each week.

The time we have for Mass built into the school schedule is not a replacement for the weekend Masses. That is on the parent who will stand before God and have to tell Him why they taught their children to treat God they way they did. When we teach our children that sacraments are like merit badges, that is, do the bare minimum and get your badge, what are we telling them about God’s grace and His desire to be a part of our lives?

I see parents who will go out of their way for a child to develop skills in a sport but will not go out of their way for Mass. Not all sports parents do this. I know parents who do both well. I appreciate and laud their effort. I know it is not easy. That is why I do not buy the excuses from the others: I know many parents who make the sacrifices and teach their children to do the same. I will respect those who do this.

We are asked to donate our time, talent, and treasure. It’s hard to get volunteers, but the worst is the collection plate. I’ve heard that the people who count the money each week get pennies, buttons, and other worthless items in the basket, from a mass full of people whose expensive cars are in the parking lot and have manicures and very nice clothes. Suck it up, and give up a meal out or something and put that money in the plate. God doesn’t ask much of you, but he does ask for something.

Furthermore, when we teach our children that making such sacrifices is unimportant or an undue burden, we take for granted God’s mercy and grace (the sin of presumption) and we teach them to take for granted the effort and sacrifices that parishes and parishioners make for that school to be open at all. Parishes are willing to give tremendous amounts of resources, energy, and time to make schools a reality. They do this as an investment in the future. When that investment is squandered, it is sinful.

I go one step further as a pastor in a diocese where we do not charge tuition to members of the parish. Our parishes give up a tremendous amount for these schools to be in existence; it is a slap in our collective face to be told we want you to heavily subsidize my children’s education and faith formation but I will teach my child to ignore most of it. I know that sounds harsh, but that is reality.

I know the conventional wisdom is to soft peddle or say nothing at all. We don’t want people to get upset after all. We are supposed to be the Church of nice. Wait, no we are not. The Catholic Church is supposed to call people to holiness and excellence; something we are trying to do in our schools. I want your children to be holy. I want your children in heaven. I know the two are tied together. I want you parents to be holy. I want you in heaven as well. I know the two are tied together. We need to be on the same page.

I agree. Priests need to slap their congregations upside the head with a spiritual 2×4. I get so tired of our parish getting the short end of the stick because parents and members aren’t called on the carpet for their selfishness. We keep getting warnings about the money we owe, that our collections aren’t enough to run the church, yet nothing changes – because we have to be nice and not hurt anyone’s feelings. Screw that, I say. Shame is helpful when it is justified and needed. If we cannot support our parish, then we deserve to lose it. Maybe the freeloaders will do better when they have to drive to a parish further away. Our parish gets taken for granted because the priest doesn’t insist on NOT being taken for granted.

To not say anything is a severe breech in my duties as a pastor and a grave disservice to the parents who do make the effort and the sacrifices. I take my duties seriously. All of my parents in the school, home school, and public school need to do the same. I would rather have you angrier than wet hen at me now and convert than have you happy with me and watch you drift further away!

So to my school parents reading this: To you who make the sacrifices and make your way to Mass Sunday in and Sunday out, who show up to help despite your busy schedules, who volunteer…thank you. To my school parents who don’t do these things, challenge yourself to excellence, want your child’s eternal salvation as much as I do, want your salvation as much as I do…make the effort, the sacrifice…we’re right there with you! I will keep doing my part, I will insist that my school and other education programs do the same, but each parent needs to do theirs as well.

Those who have had me as the pastor know it is not my nature to shrink away from a struggle and that it is my nature to call to holiness and excellence and nothing less. I need partners in this…and you parents are just the partners in this I need.

It’s not just the school parents, though. It’s every single parishioner, including me. We are all part of something bigger than ourselves. It’s not about me. It’s about our community.

I think I can put my soapbox away now. For now.

PS: I have forwarded this link to my parish. Let’s see if it gets used. Or pokes someone into action.

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76 thoughts on “What I’ve Wanted to Tell Parents for a Looooonnnnnnggg Time

  1. Well, I had to get up to do what old men get up in the middle of the night to do, and here was the number one slot just waiting to be sullied. So, consider it done.

  2. Lieberman is 75 years old.
    He’s never had a real job.
    He was Algore’s running mate.

  3. From last night;
    Tedtam says:

    May 18, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    #87 Mharper

    …to find that her baby had wrapped itself around her head!

    I’d never seen a momma squirrel carry her baby, but I don’t see how she could navigate where her baby literally wrapped around her face, tail and all. She made it up the tree, lickety split, and disappeared from sight.

    That reminds me of an event a few years ago when we let the moon flower vine climb up the pole to the Martin house. The house was completely covered and looked like a big ball of vines on a tall pole. We’d had Martins the year before and the vine was about half way up the pole when they left, so over the winter it consumed it. Now it’s spring and time to get ready for the birds, so I let the pole down, got out my big Gurkha Knife and commenced to rip out the aggravating vine.
    Then I wanted to clean out the rooms and dang if their weren’t 4 baby squirrels in there. I started to take them out but didn’t really want to raise them so I left them alone and hoped that the mama would come back after I molested her home. I didn’t think that there would be any way that she could climb the slippery pole, (silly me), so I tied a small rope to the house and spiraled it around the pole. We watched for a while and sure enough mama came back scampered up the pole in about 5 seconds, grabbed a baby and hauled it around the house, across the street, around another house and into their front yard to a giant pine tree, her new home. She repeated this 3 more times and was done in 15 minutes! I don’t know if it was the lack of cover on the house or the fact that I’d lowered/molested it, that made her move her little ones but NEVER underestimate ANY mother.

  4. I want an FBI director who has blood in his eye to go after the rampant corruption in:
    His agency
    the justice dept
    the irs
    K Street
    the judiciary

    Do I want someone to go after the people I don’t like just because they have a D after their name – HELL NO. Do I want him to go after the terds on both sides of the aisle who choose to flaunt the law and are crooked – youbetcha!

  5. Shannon says:
    MAY 19, 2017 AT 7:33 AM
    Lieberman is 75 years old.
    He’s never had a real job.
    He was Algore’s running mate.

    He was also primaried by his own Party for being too Conservative and was a strident supporter of the GWOT.

    He’s got a good reputation for being honest and independent.

  6. I put this in the same category as “owling”, “planking”, “ice bucket challenge”, etc.

    HEADLINE: Brazilian ‘mermaids’ ride quirky fashion wave
    Davi Moreira looks like any other young Rio de Janeiro beach lover as he heads down to the Ipanema surf each week — at least until he dons his blue mermaid’s tail.

    Other bathers look on in astonishment as Moreira, 22, performs his weekly ritual. However, as part of a trend in Brazil and as far away as Holland and Canada, he is far from alone.

    “It’s a lifestyle, a way of expressing my love and respect for the sea and this encounter between two worlds. When I’m in the water I feel like another person,” he said while resting on rocks with his tail glittering in the sun.

    Like many who feel the need to dress up as mermaids and swim with the up and down motion of the broad tail, Moreira was inspired from childhood by Disney’s popular animated movie “The Little Mermaid.”
    Moreira, who also has a “Little Mermaid” tattoo, has adopted the persona of “Davi Sereio,” or “Davi Mermaid” in Portuguese, and has recorded a gay spoof version of the Disney film on YouTube.

    You mean this guy who puts on a mermaid tail is ghey?!? Wow, who could have possibly seen that one coming.. . . . .err, pardon the phrasing.

  7. Good Friday morning Hamsters. Breeze has picked up steadily since sunup, and we’ve gone to 79 here from 75 at 6. It’s mugly of course, but the breeze helps a lot.

    Joe Lieberman is more conservative than a whole lot of RINOs stacked on top of each other. He ran as an Independent in his campaign for his last term as Senator, since as Sarge said he was persona non grata to the Dems, somewhat viciously so as I recall. His integrity is not in doubt, which is likely one reason the Dems wanted no part of him in his last election. The most recent interview I heard I believe was with Hannity on the current Dem deviltry. Joe has not lost a step and is on top of things. And he certainly would not want the job.

  8. The best reason I can think of right now to put Lieberman in is that this morning Democrats are saying that he is unacceptable to them.

  9. I don’t think Joe can pull off the FBI Director blue suit. James Bond he ain’t.


  10. #16 El Gordo

    What the lady wrote. Bravo, Bravissimo cubed.

    The RNC and House and Senate campaign committees have not gotten a penny from us since the birth of the Tea Parties. And they will not in the future.

  11. Who would you suggest who could do the job, be unacceptable to Democrats, and gives us the ability to say that Democrats are so hateful that they won’t even accept someone who ran for President in their own party?

  12. Oh I don’t know. Perhaps any number of a thousand people with Federal law enforcement experience.

  13. SD and TT,
    Hmm, I’ve never seen a squirrel carrying a baby. Our first Spring after we moved into this house 22 years ago, there was a woodpecker pounding out a nest in a branch of a maple tree close to the house in the back yard. The woodpeckers soon got driven out by starlings and abandoned that hole. But soon after, we saw little sleepy zombie eyes peeping out the hole right at dusk. Figured out they were baby squirrels.

    Those are great pix, Davey, of the Mama squirrel carrying a baby. It was very kind of you to make it possible for her to get them out of your bird house!

  14. It was very kind of you to make it possible for her to get them out of your bird house!

    Yup, had they been a little older, they may have wound on the breakfast table,……Scraaaamm!!! 😀

  15. Just saw a CenemaNN report that the Comey Island RotDog also has a memo that shows Trump colluded with the Martians, the Jupitertarians, the UpUranusians, the Vulcans, and the ClingFree Klingons,

    Stay tuned.

    Live Long and Write Memos.

  16. Yup, CenemaNN is now reporting the voting machines were beamed up, hacked and mind-melded then sent back to earth.

    This is big.
    Big and pink.

  17. Yeah, Ol’ Joe has about about the same amount of law enforcement experience as Ken Paxton.

  18. Just yesterday I heard a Dem senator say out loud on TV that Lieberman was the only person he knew of that could get 100 votes in the senate. I generally like Lieberman but know nothing of his law enforcement skills. Historically the FBI has been relatively immune from politics, primarily due to J. Edgar’s propensity to keep files and photos on everybody – friend and foe alike. Obama successfully politicized the FBI, and the appointment of another friendly politician to head that agency seems like a continuation of the practice to me. Plus, if the Dems really like him, that’s another red flag. I’m speaking from ignorance here since I haven’t followed Lieberman that closely, but the red flags are certainly out there.

  19. I don’t know about Connecticut, but these are the duties of the Texas Attorney General, the state government’s chief legal counsel.

    Attorney General Ken Paxton is the lawyer for the State of Texas and is charged by the Texas Constitution to:

    •defend the laws and the Constitution of the State of Texas
    •represent the State in litigation
    •approve public bond issues

    To fulfill these responsibilities, the Office of the Attorney General serves as legal counsel to all boards and agencies of state government, issues legal opinions when requested by the Governor, heads of state agencies and other officials and agencies as provided by Texas statutes, sits as an ex-officio member of state committees and commissions, and defends challenges to state laws and suits against both state agencies and individual employees of the State.

    The Office of the Attorney General has taken on numerous other roles through the years. Texas statutes contain nearly 2000 references to the Attorney General. In addition to its constitutionally prescribed duties, the Office of the Attorney General files civil suits upon referral by other state agencies. In some circumstances, the Attorney General has original jurisdiction to prosecute violations of the law, but in most cases, criminal prosecutions by the Attorney General are initiated only upon the request of a local prosecutor.

    Although the Attorney General is prohibited from offering legal advice or representing private individuals, he serves and protects the rights of all citizens of Texas through the activities of the various divisions of the agencies. Actions that benefit all citizens of this state include enforcement of health, safety and consumer regulations; educational outreach programs and protection of the rights of the elderly and disabled. The Attorney General is also charged with the collection of court-ordered child support and the administration of the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund.

    In my opinion, the above description provided by the Attorney General’s website gives short shrift to the actual law enforcement functions of his office. But that is a pretty good indicator of how high a priority he places on those functions.

    At any rate, I think being a state attorney general is nice on the resume’ if you’re an attorney, but doesn’t automatically qualify you to lead the FBI.

  20. I remember hearing Lieberman do interviews on some of the local talk shows. I got the impression that had he joined the political scene today instead of eons ago, he might actually have an “R” by his name.

    What I remember most is how he spoke of his respect for the USA and its laws, and he seemed to have a genuine fondness for the country and an accompanying desire to see it do well. I believe that’s why he went independent for his last election. The Democrat party left him.

  21. This is a quote from an acquaintance on Facebook:

    “Liberals are like high-maintenance girlfriends: you’re always wrong, and nothing is ever good enough.”

    Perfect quote of the week!

  22. I like and respect Joe Lieberman. He’s one of the few career politicians about which I can say that.

    I can’t possibly understand what qualifies him to lead the FBI. And I daresay there isn’t anyone on the planet who thought of him in that role prior to five days ago.

    So shoot me.

  23. Rush is examining the various articles, columns, messages from deep space, ravings, intricacies, imaginings, videos, writings on walls, Morse code messages, gypsies, tramps & thieves off the record testimony,etc. regarding the Russians, Comey, Trump, elections, Obama, Clinton, Congress, Putin, uranium sales (oops, not that), Trump relatives, executive orders (but not Obama’s), the hurricane forecast, the racing form for the Preakness, polling opinions about impeachment, and how to read tea leaves or entrails. Fair game is anything within grasp the Dems can throw on the wall that might stick to convince their feeble minded base they are doing the job the small but well-paid mob wants done.

    Rush says it’s exhausting but somebody has to do it.

  24. And as Rush says, until Putin signs off on Lieberman, it’s just somebody else’s pipe dream.

  25. How tone deaf can Planned un-Parenthood be?

    Planned Parenthood tried to be cool with a new online campaign inspired by “Buffy” creator Joss Whedon, but it didn’t go over well. When your product is abortion, “slay” and “everyone has a hero inside” isn’t the best combination of words.

    Whedon, who created TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and directed Marvel’s “The Avengers,” made a short film supposedly showing what the world would be like without Planned Parenthood. The abortion organization urged supporters to “Watch. Share. Slay” with the video because “every single one of us has a hero inside; and it’s our responsibility to use our superpowers to slay.”

  26. #37 Katfish

    Looks like David Clarke is seriously considering running for the Senate in Wisconsin to replace Democrat Tammy Baldwin. Have gotten a couple of snail mailings and emails to draft him to run. Will be happy to support that.

  27. #48 – MsAdee for a moment there I thought perhaps I was typing with “invisible ink” *chuckle* 🙂

    I’m all for Sheriff Clarke expanding his duties in service to us citizens.

    IMHO He is a stand up, no-nonsense fellow!

  28. And it’s so funny to keep running into news pieces by libs that keep dreaming Wisconsin is a blue state along with Minnesota. Not so much. He would make a wonderful conservative Senator and probably scare the Dems.

  29. #51 – Several things come to mind on this story. First, my experience has been that people who are out after midnight, unless they are doing something work related, are generally up to no good. Second, maybe the state transportation department needs to redirect alligator crossings in a manner being suggested by this lady explaining deer crossings.

  30. As I sit here waxing philosophically, drinking a tea in a hipster haven, I’ve come to realize that all of my blog debates with my blogging buddy Sarge can be summed up in this 40 second clip.

    But since I keep doing it I’m now trying figure out whether it’s insanity, persistence or the sheer fun of the game that keeps me coming back for more.

  31. It’s unclear why the alligators tried crossing the roadways. The crashes happened during what is turning out to be a very active alligator mating season.

    Yep, there’s a joke in there somewhere.

  32. #53 – Keep it up Phil, but let me know when your are ready for me to tag in and give you a break. BTW, it’s probably insanity, but it beats sitting around drooling all over your protruding stomach (speaking for myself of course)

  33. Good example of what a live show at a House of Blues style venue looks like today. People pay good money for tickets to see a good live band. Danielle Nichole is a great ‘bluesician’ playing an acoustic bass here, and serious belter of vocals. The crowd is shouting to each other so they can talk over the music. Worse they line up to have a selfie of themselves, flash facing away from the stage, and into the face of the crowd. They hold their cell phones up to take video to prove they were there. Those standing behind get to see the show on the mini video now in front of them. And why do the dudes 6’4″ plus feel the need to get close to the stage? Meaningless rant over.


  34. waxing philosophically, drinking a tea in a hipster haven

    Ya think Phil wears a romper to get his wax job in Hipsterville?

  35. #56 – right ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    DN brings the Janis level passion every time no doubt!

    hope She’ll tour in TX……………..

  36. Ya think Phil wears a romper to get his wax job in Hipsterville?

    Haven’t worn a romper yet but I do have some John Lennon style reading glasses the hipsters seem to like.

    Act like they’ve never seen glasses like that before.

    As far as rompers, think you can help me pick one out?

  37. 58 gto

    Even allowing for a poor quality phone recording, it just sounds like a bad venue for an acoustic set.
    I don’t think I would have stayed long in that noisy crowd.

  38. Here’s hoping Trump’s tweetee doesn’t work on the other side of the world. I need a break.

  39. #63, then there is the General Admission shoving match. Moving through the crowd is not as polite as I thought. As the video plays on the audience starts to quite down a bit. I wonder about our rock star bassist Dood with his Tom Jones good looks. What does he do with the ladies’ underwear thrown on stage? Sell them on ebay, Craigslist?

  40. Brother Phil

    since I keep doing it I’m now trying figure out whether it’s insanity, persistence or the sheer fun of the game that keeps me coming back for more.

    Since my LST days, I have always enjoyed knowing that there were keyboards being pounded and veins broken out of frustration.
    I like knowing I make their eyes bleed

  41. I have always enjoyed knowing that there were keyboards being pounded and veins broken out of frustration.
    I like knowing I make their eyes bleed

    Heh Brother Squawk!–Ya devil Ya.:-)

    There is a certain level of satisfaction in it though, isn’t there?

  42. Andrew comes back from the grave to haunt ole Weiner. And Huma just filed to divorce him. Altogether not a great day what with the conviction and all.

  43. May have a storm on the way this evening. We need the rain, hail, wind – all of ti. Bring it on.

    I figured Huma would be taken out by her family as a matter of honor, except that she was planted as a mole into that hiliary orbit to begin with. Wonder if Anthony will be able to impress his new friends with his junk? I imagine there will be a few lined up to check it out when he arrives.

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