Getting Catholics Invested in the Mission

The title, Getting Catholics Invested in the Mission, of an interview in NCR (December 31, 2009) of Francis J.Butler, president of FADICA, Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities.

“The biggest problem, I think, is that the church has to make it really crystal clear that each individual’s gift and involvement is not only welcome, but is essential to the life and mission of the church. The research seems to suggest that under performance of donors in the Catholic church has a lot to do with that — that people don’t have a sense of being a stakeholder in the church’s mission. You can’t ask people to give money to something that they are not personally invested in.”

It is not so much about the donations as it is about keeping parishioners and evangelization of the congregation and the unchurched. If the parishioners are not engaged then there is decline in the parish. This is seen in all the Pew study trends.

The other quote that is interesting has to do with an inward focus instead of an outward focus.

“It’s sort of counterintuitive: The more the parish is outward-oriented, the more global it is in focus, the more the vitality of the parish increases. People are not going to get stirred up about a boiler, but they will understand issues of hunger, issues of justice. They will be more interested in the hungry of their city, the needs that are there, and the vision that underlies that —because they know that is just coming right out of the Gospel.”

Parishes do not become involved in social justice to fundraise but because being a servant to the world is what parishes are supposed to do. Being active in community and world causes for justice and to serve the poor is part of being a parish and invigorates the community. An inward focus on current members is a recipe for parish decline.

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