Offer The Best of Our Church to Stem Exit
Frans van Neerijnen, Johannesburg – How can we stop the exodus from the Catholic Church to Pentecostal churches?
A number of valid suggestions have been made, but several additional suggestions have been left out, as well as, perhaps, added reasons why people are leaving.
I enumerate a number of further reasons/suggestions as follows:
- The Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement needs to be encouraged by parish priests to be founded and grow. Parishes like Victory Park in Johannesburg are a prime example, being active for more than 25 years.
- Also, the actual Mass could be more Charismatic, with interesting and informative homilies.
- A strong and vibrant choir movement and music ministry adds substantially to the “atmosphere” of reverence during Mass.
- The liturgies of the Word and the Eucharist need to be explained more often, to help parishioners understand them a lot better and thereby appreciate them more.
- Alpha courses should be run several times a year in parishes.
Bryanston parish in Johannesburg is indeed doing well, having run Alpha courses three times a year for the past 32 years, with over 100 participants each time.
- Home cells or Bible study groups need to be stimulated, where these “small churches” start to play a more intimate role in developing a personal relationship with Jesus and God.
- A modern translation of a study Bible can assist these cells in understanding the Word and applying it to today’s life.
- Renew was a good attempt at getting small groups going, but there was no follow-up and ongoing, organised programme.
- Do people really understand tithing? The actual concept and the real maths behind it, with true-life examples?
- Many churches have “cliques” of people, who have great difficulty in really opening up their groups and honestly welcoming new members to join them.
- When are the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12), or the fruit (Gal 5), or the whole armour of God (Eph 6) ever vividly elaborated upon in homilies so as to become meaningful to parishioners’ lives?
- Now we hear about another new concept, “Divine Renovation”, moving to a Mission Church.
I hope our bishops, priests, leaders and PPCs can give this whole matter some serious thought, and then of course implement the actions required.