Like most Catholic churches, our church no longer has enough priests to staff the daily Mass schedule. In response, the early Mass was replaced with a service that is overseen by deacons or lay people. My wife does the Thursday morning service.
She has become a homilist. She’s not allowed to call it a homily (another weird Catholic thing: Only priests and deacons can give homilies) but it’s a homily nonetheless.
I have never heard her speak – and I’m really surprised that she has never taken me to task on this – although I’ve read a several of her sermons. She generally prepares them the night before, gets too tired to continue, and finishes them in the morning just prior to the service – sort of the way that most students do term papers. Her speaking style is very calm, serious, intelligent, thoughtful. I suspect the ten or so people that attend the service get something out of her sermon every time.
Ten or so people.
While weekday church attendance has always been sparse at best, I wonder if the popularity of television, video games and the Internet make it too convenient to involve ourselves anymore in nearly any form of community life. Participation in parent-teacher organizations has plummeted. So has Sunday church attendance; and union meetings! Likewise, even bowling and softball leagues have declined tremendously. Is voter apathy related to this as well? I worry about the decline of community and the eventual impact it will have on our society.
We need more people like my wife, who are willing to speak to others in an intelligent, thoughtful manner. We need more people willing to get together to listen to them. We need to play ball and go bowling.
We need each other.