Don’t focus on the family, part two

Part two of U.S. Catholic magazine’s February interview with Julie Hanlon Rubio, ethicist at St. Louis University and suburban mom.  Here’s part one if you missed it. 

How would a parish attract families to engage in service and to learn about social justice?

It would start with creating community. With lots of low-key events with free food where people can just get together. In today’s larger parishes we have to create smaller groups within the parish.

If you want your kids to care about parish, it has to be more than a one-stop deal. If they don’t know people there, if they don’t have fun there, if they don’t feel supported, they’re not going to feel connected there. They’re not going to want to invest in that later, either. It’s not going to feel like home if they’re never there.

A parish can begin to reflect on the things that are taking up parishioners’ time. Are we asking people to put a lot of time into special events that parallel those in the secular culture, like auctions and carnivals that take up a lot of volunteer hours and maybe don’t create the kind of community that parishes would really want to see? Continue reading