Once a year, you know it’s coming. I don’t know if it is at the same time every year for every parish, but if it wasn’t this Sunday in your parish, it’s coming. I am referring to the “End of the Year, Financial Message.”
About six months ago I reported how my parish is in some financial trouble. Every week I look at the bulletin and I see a shortfall. As I am sure I mentioned last year, an institution can’t survive forever losing money every week. As you can guess this year isn’t much different. Our parish continues to lose money each week.
There has been some good news, the parish was able to sell the unused church building which has relieved some of the burden, allowing some outstanding bills, notably the insurance bill to be paid, and some of the debt owed the diocese as well. But it still isn’t enough.
But this begs the question: Why do we need a church anyway? I don’t mean a Church with a capital “C” but a church with a lowercase “c”, as in a big building or even a small building? I asked myself this question, the one about why we need a church with a capital “C” when I first began this wonderful journey back to the Catholic Church, but never really considered why we need a church with a small “c”. Didn’t Jesus steal a line from that song about “whenever two or three are gathered in His name”? (Peter, Paul, and Mary, I believe or maybe it was the other way around) Didn’t the early Christians worship pretty much anywhere, houses, public buildings, streets, etc?
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” – MT 18:20New American Bible. (2011). (Revised Edition, Mt 18:20). Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
I did a Google search and only found definitions for Church with a capital “C”. I found stuff on worship and why we should worship in groups (fellowship, learning the meaning of the Word, strength in numbers when it comes to fighting Satan) but nothing specifically saying we needed a dedicated building. And then it hit me, the answer so simple I don’t know how I missed it.
Why do we as Catholics need a church? Because we have something no other Christian denominations have. We have the actual body and blood of Christ in our churches, and we need a place to keep Him. We place Him in the tabernacle, seen at the front of every Catholic Church. It’s as simple as that.
If you would like to help my parish through these financially troubled times you can use this link to donate: St. John Paul II Parish.