A few days ago a co-worker sent me a link to a podcast where the guest mentioned a book he’d written about “Catholics after Covid” so I did some internet sleuthing and ended up reading an eBook. Isn’t that how time on the internet always goes?
It was good though – and it’s available for everyone to read for free – but I’m not sharing the link until the end of this article because I don’t want you to skip what I’m going to share (like I did for the rest of that podcast, which was probably really great!).
There are 16 individual essays from priests, lay people, young Catholics, seasoned Catholics, converts, religious sisters, Catholic “Professionals” and more. It was published by Word on Fire Ministries, which I know we all love and trust.
One line in Fr. Josh Johnson’s essay really stood out to me about what our parish missions are. I work with parishes who ask me to help them formulate their parish mission and I try to encourage them to keep is simple – maybe even “KISS: Keep It Simple, Saints!” (sorry, I know that was a lame pun, but I had to).
I typically go right to Matthew 28:19: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” That’s it – everything else we do is helping us live that mission. If what you’re doing isn’t helping to create, form, inspire, and bring disciples together, why are you doing it?
Fr. Josh Johnson says it even more simply: Our Parish Mission is to Form Saints, and I want everyone to know that sainthood is possible.
Wow! Talk about a KISS statement. Everyone can remember it – even the small children, and it’s intended for everyone.
That means that everything we do is oriented toward that mission: Forming Saints.
You might be thinking, “That’s too simple Katie.” I’m going to respond by saying, “Come back and talk to me when you’ve done that with all of your parishioners and then everyone within your parish boundary and we’ll talk about something a little deeper.”
It really is that simple – it’s not easy – but it’s that simple. Everything we do is about forming saints – preparing people to be in Heaven for eternity – because this world is not our final destination. As a famous Theresa said “The world is thy ship, not thy home.” I have that quote hanging in my bathroom on a simple watercolor a friend made me so I can remember it each morning and evening while I’m brushing my teeth and washing my face.
My goal is sainthood, your ultimate goal is sainthood -for you, your family, your friends – and our parishes are places where we can help prepare them for it.
So take a look at your parish mission statement – is it a KISS statement? If not, make it one – as simple as “Our Mission is to Form Saints” or “Go and make disciples.”
Next take a look at your ministries and know how they are helping you live your mission. If they aren’t, then do the hard work of adjusting them or reorienting them toward your mission. If they can’t be reoriented or adjusted to help fulfill your parish mission, then maybe they need to be replaced by ministries that do.
Third, if you find holes in your ministry where whole groups of people aren’t being formed into saints or told about Jesus, work to fill those holes. Make a plan for how you’ll grow – if you want help with that, call me! It’s what I do for parishes!
I’m off to finish that podcast and see what I can learn from it!