Oct 2, 2008

Your Church and the Financial Crisis

An anonymous reader wrote very good comments to my post Credit, Debit, Cash and BARTER. Please read about his/her solutions to the financial crisis that can come through the Catholic Church.

"I've always wondered if Catholic parishioners could do far more for each other than most of them typically do. As the times continue to get worse, I'm willing to bet that the Catholic Church in America will only get stronger.

For example: Pot-luck dinners could become a nightly or perhaps a thrice-weekly affair, which would certainly cut down on most folk's grocery bills. Work on parishioner's homes could be done in return for gas and oil bills; and parishioners could get together to homeschool each other's children.

A rotating staff -- some, perhaps, with CNA or RN backgrounds -- could be put to use to watch over the elderly in the parish, and could also be used to watch each other's kids while the parents are still at work. Also, a parish or a group of parishes could request group rates from the local hospitals for medical care, and group rates from the local pharmacies and medical equipment businesses.

Also, if a family has a particular need for something or some service, they could post a 'ticket' on a bulletin board, and when someone has some thing or some trade they need in return that the first family can provide or perform, their 'tickets' could be exchanged and taken off the bulletin board.


And if all that sounds too good to be true, or if it doesn't sound like that would ever happen in your parish, you might want to take a look at how the Mormons, or the Baptists organize themselves. All of these things are already being done in other faith communities.

Catholics, I believe, need to start acting like family more often. It should be a source of a very strong identification to belong to a certain parish. Once that happens, all of these things are possible.

I have witnessed far too many ugly things happen amongst Catholic parishioners than I care to mention here; and I'm afraid that it is true that most of us have a long way to go before ever realizing such things in most of our parishes. But it can be done; and as the crisis in the economy worsens, our parishioners should really start looking out for one another, to the point that we begin to act like a very strong, united community."

4 comments:

Christopher said...

wow this is a great idea
and I would love to help

with my computer skills i would be willing to setup the Bulletin board system or whatever I can to help

Anonymous said...

I believe that most of us can cook
and I believe that most of us are
able to watch children. And most
of us can help others with their
chores, or simply spend time with
those who are elderly and are
living alone. These are the sorts
of things that I had in mind, when
I wrote earlier that as parishioners,
we can be doing a lot more for each
other than what is normally done.

I am horrified and frightened at
the news of that 90-year-old woman in
Ohio who shot herself, in an attempt
to commit suicide over the fact that
she was about to lose her home. This
is how desperate the times -- that
we all live in -- have now become.
I am horrified at the reality that
a 90-year-old woman had no one to
turn to, no one to help her in her
great age, and no one to take care
of her during her elderly years.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta once
said that the spiritual poverty of
America is greater than the material
poverty in India. She was right.
I've traveled in India, and I've
seen how desperately poor those
people are; and yet my own
country's spiritual poverty frightens
me far more. The way we currently
live and treat each other in America
cannot continue. We are all better
than this. As Catholics we need to
help each other and come together as
a parish and as a family far more
than we currently do.

Not all of us are in as desperate
a situation as that elderly woman
in Ohio, but if things continue the
way they are, we all soon will be.
None of us are very rich, or very
secure in our jobs and in our homes
anymore. We need to start realizing
that fact *now*, and start planning
for it as a religious community.

We need to be more charitable towards
each other now perhaps more than we
have ever been in the past. Most
people are deeply in debt, most
families are hurting. Some of the
people you sit next to in Church may
soon lose their homes. Or, perhaps,
one of your family members may soon
lose their home, or perhaps it will
happen to one of your friends. Or
to you. It's going to happen.

Most people now are extremely
frightened. Many people have lost
their jobs, or know someone who has.
And they know how shallow and how
uncaring most of American society
is, and they realize that they have
nowhere to turn -- much like that
poor woman in Ohio must have realized.
We *must* change this. We must be
able to provide our friends and our
parishioners an alternative to
living on the street, or of picking
up a gun and pointing it at their
own hearts because the sheriff and
his deputies are knocking at their
front door, in order to evict them
from their homes.

There are a lot of people who could
benefit from a weekly or nightly
pot-luck dinner, and who would
appreciate the opportunity to save
face rather than to experience the
embarassment of having to visit the
local food bank. Some parishioners
are soon going to need a place to
stay, too, even if it's the barn out
back, or a spot on the living room
floor.

Having a parish maintain a fund for
apartments to be available for those
parishioners who need them is a good
idea, and can be very cost-effective.
Getting the lawyers in the parish to
draw-up an investment plan for funds
that can be made available to those
who are in need of money to pay their
utility or mortgage bills is also a
good idea; and will almost certainly
be of great help this coming season
to help some to remain in their homes,
and to help them survive the oncoming
winter. Food and utilities cost all
of us several hundreds of dollars a
month. At the very least we should
be implementing plans to help each
other mitigate these costs. These
things are all possible, if we can
learn to act as caring, charitable,
Catholic communities.

As I wrote earlier, we need to have
a strong sense of identity from our
parish. We need to identify
ourselves as a *parish family*.
There is a lot that a small group of
people can do. Having frequent pot-
luck dinners is an obvious, easily
reachable goal; and should be
started soon if it isn't already
done in your parish. At the very
least it's a great way to meet your
fellow parishioners, and a great way
to get some of the other ideas in my
posts moving or at least under
discussion.

I don't have any idea how much worse
this economy is going to get, but it
is apparent to me that things are at
such a critical state that these
ideas need to start being discussed
now. It's been a long time since our
country has been in such dire straits;
and it will take some time for people
to understand that they are in danger,
and that there can be strength in
numbers in a parish.

It will take even longer for some to
ask for help, and to be able to
believe that their fellow parishioners
can be charitable enough to help them
without having to endure satanically-
inspired gossip, ugly sneers and
glares, and ugly comments about
'reaping what they've sown'. We are
all in this together, and some of us
are going to have to learn how to be
gracious and charitable, and non-
judgemental. Soon, none of us may
have much of a choice in the matter
-- our parishioners may soon become
our own sole source of economic
support for the foreseeable future.

A Catholic parish can do a world of
good. First and foremost it must
always be the place where we glorify
God through the Holy Mass, and a place
for us to become more holy through
prayer and acts of charity and mercy.
But it should also be a place for us
wherein we may lean on our fellow
brothers and sisters if we need to.
And, a Roman Catholic parish must be
a place where every single human
being in this country can expect that
they have a place to turn to if they
lose their home, or if they are
desperately lonely and have no one
to talk to, or if they find
themselves in times of trouble, and
need someone to help them. To each
other, we must be the Salt of the
Earth; a source of charity, compassion,
and understanding. There must be no
more cases where 90-year-old women shoot
themselves in the chest, rather than
face eviction by the sheriff's office
all alone, unloved, and with no one
to turn to.

Dymphna said...

I never, ever eat at potluck dinners. You never know how clean the other cooks are.

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