A year ago or so, I brought the book “Divine Renovation” by Fr. James Mallon to Mass and spoke about it in my homilies. Fr. William had asked the Pastoral Council of the Parish to read it before I was transferred here. I hadn’t actually heard of it before. So the council introduced me to it. Later, some parishioners and I went to the Amazing Parish Conference in Milwaukee—Fr. James was the keynote speaker. I got him to autograph my book.
As we went through the various talks and sessions at the conference, I realized more and more how important the principles of this book were to the growth and development of a parish. Fr. James’ main slogan is “Maintenance to Mission.” He points out that the vast majority (over 90%) of all parishes in the Catholic Church in North America are in maintenance mode. That means that we only think of maintaining what we have, that we rarely think of evangelizing and bringing new people in and growing. He gives some symptoms of a maintenance parish. Are more of your activities aimed at parishioners already in the pews or at the general public to bring them to the pews? In your budget, are the majority of your resources dedicated to the upkeep of existing facilities and parishioner centered activities, or for programs and staff aimed at evangelizing the surrounding community? He makes the point very eloquently and convincingly that the Catholic Church was established by Jesus to fulfill a mission! So we must transform into a Mission Parish or we will just be managing slow decline.