Friday, June 16, 2017

Passing on the Parish Council

A couple of months back, members of the Parish Council at my parish spoke at weekend Masses trying to recruit new members. In our parish, instead of an actual election or even a put-all-the-nominees'-names-in-a-bowl-and-pick-the-required-number-of-members method used at a lot of parishes, if you show up you are a member.

I went over to one of the members I knew, asked a couple of questions and shared a couple of jokes. He asked if I was interested, and I said I'd think about it. My wife later said I should really consider it, and that she could see me on the Council.

A couple of weeks ago the head of the Parish Council left a message on my phone and invited me to the June meeting as a new member, or at least to check things out. I didn't even get a chance to return his call - he came up to me at the end of Mass after my music group played and asked me to come to the next meeting.

Feeling trapped, I said I'd attend the June meeting. I did so earlier this week.

I was one of four new/potential members. The rest of the people were the people I'd expected - the very active members of the parish. The kind of good, solid people every parish relies on.

I listened to the issues being discussed. I also got to meet the new pastor who will be joining us at the end of June. That was nice.

I did not commit when asked. But when I went home I told my wife I would not be joining.


As I mentioned, the people were all the active members in the parish - every program, every fund-raiser, every social activity, these were the people who ran things and volunteered and did the work. And at the Council meeting it was indeed clear it was expected that the members were to be active in as much as possible - from the parish picnic to the new adult formation program to overseeing the parish newsletter - and to promote everything. That message came through again and again.

It's pretty obvious that they were seeking new members because they need more hands and new blood.

But I don't participate in all those activities and events. I'm not a picnic person. I don't go to all the dinners and card and wine-tasting nights. I can't even be part of the adult formation program because it's scheduled for a night I work. It would be hypocritical for me to promote activities and programs in which I don't participate.

Plus, with a new job, being on the the Board of The Margaret Home as we attempt to get that program off the ground, my Franciscan obligations (including being a member of the Fraternity Council), Santa duties in November/December, and the Rock of Faith band, I'm already committed to a lot.

Further, the discussion involved a lot of dithering and repeating - many of the members are older, some are hard of hearing, some are not native English speakers, and some got lost as issues were discussed. I know me: I don't have the patience for that.

So I'll let them know that I was honored to be invited, but this is not for me.

Pax et bonum

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