Then there were none
As we watch the decline of attendance within our churches the ability to keep so many sites open due to money and interest in the Sacraments is a reality facing us. Take a look at most families that once were staunch attendees and participants in church activities who now have slowly walked away for too many reasons. I know one family where one out of seven siblings still goes to church. The rest have their lives in an uproar over scandals, the hierarchy from Rome to their local parish, and just have lost interest in religion. If asked most will say they still believe in God, whatever that may mean to them, or pray when the mood seems appropriate, or don’t even develop a sound thought about going.
In case we never give it a thought, look at the numbers attending Mass and compare to the totals just a few short years ago. One idea has been to merge parishes and combine Mass times to increase the numbers, but even there the numbers appear to dwindle down. This again shows that there has been a loss of concern of too many parishioners and the age of most still attending are over 50 or 60 years of age. For those in the upper age bracket there is concern that the younger generation who seem to be the ones not going to church will become the lost segment of our families.
While we show sadness regarding our offspring, what is the future for their children? By the time our great grandchildren reach the age of receiving the sacraments will there be any churches around?
Jesus told his disciples he would be with them until the end of the age. Without any churches and faith to assure their existence will the end be the next step? We can’t say for sure but the writing is on the wall. Almost 50 years since I was ordained and the church was so promising. Look now and we can only pray that all this concern is hyper-bole; I don’t believe it is!
Ralph B. Hathaway