Tuesday, July 20, 2010

In Gratitude for the Women at Dolores Mission

(Pictures are from a leadership meeting from today)

Every Tuesday, I have the opportunity to attend CEB meetings. These meetings are like CLC meetings--they come together once a week to pray, to reflect on the upcoming Gospel reading for Sunday, and simply to spend time with one another and to enjoy each other's company. Here at Dolores Mission, these CEB groups are almost entirely composed of women--women who play a very active role in the life of the Church. Last Tuesday, we reflected on the passage from Luke about Mary and Martha, and I used that time to acknowledge the role that the women played at Dolores Mission.

I remarked: "As I reflect on this Gospel passage, I am reminded how important women are in the life of the Church. Of course, we already know that, but I think it is important for us to acknowledge and to highlight from time to time the vital role of women in our community. During this past month or so, it has become very clear to me that this Parish would not be able to operate without women. You are the ones who come to these CEB meetings. You are the ones who come to Daily Mass. You are the ones who have important leadership roles here at Dolores Mission. You are the ones who march for peace in the community and who lobby for justice with our local government officials. Without you, this parish would truly die. I want to take this time to thank all of you for the very important work that you do. Thank you so much for your inspiration and your ability to breathe life into the different ministries of the parish."

It is no secret that the number of priests in the U.S. is diminishing. We are not getting enough vocations to replace the many priests who are approaching retirement. Parish priests will begin to feel themselves overextended and will simply not have the energy to do all of the things they are asked to do. Some parishes are already hiring "Parish Life Directors" who essentially run the parish excluding Sacramental ministry. This is a big help to priests who were never trained anyway to run the business-side of parish life. Most of these Parish Life Directors will probably be women.

In the Gospels, the women are marked by their strong faith in Christ, and I have certainly witnessed the strong faith of the women here at Dolores Mission. I am very grateful for the positive role that women have played in my life, and I know that the future of the Church will very much be shaped by their work and contribution.

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