Monday, November 29, 2010

Waiting With Hope

We believe, we hope, we wait, we trust in the goodness of God. It's the beautiful season of Advent once again, a season filled with busyness, but also filled with the certainty of God's love and the fulfillment of promises. Those of us who believe, who are blessed to believe in Jesus, can rejoice that we can celebrate the great feast of Christmas in a few weeks.
I was so impressed with a blog entry that I read at Deacon Greg's blog about an evangelization program at Most Precious Blood Parish in Brooklyn. I know the parish well as my cousins grew up in that neighborhood and were parishioners there. The present pastor, Fr. Maduri has the right idea and is leading a Spirit-filled, creative response to the decline he sees in Church attendence, which is a result of changing demographics. Unfortunately, it's a problem in many neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens and other parts of the city and on Long Island too. If it's not addressed in a creative, Spirit-filled, out-of-the-box thinking way, the demographic changes have the potential to adversely effect the future Church in NYC and it's surrounding areas.
I applaud Fr. Maduri's efforts to seize the moment and do something creative and innovative that actually works, to show the unchurched, the youth, fallen away Catholics and nonbelievers in his midst that the Catholic faith has something to offer that is worth seeking and will enrich their lives.
There are so many trendy and "cool" neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. I often walk around the lower East side of Manhattan as I have relatives who live there. It has become a very trendy neighborhood of late. I like to eat in the restaurants there. They are always filled with young, vibrant, creative looking young people. It's not unusual to be sitting in a restaurant and see a film crew walk in for lunch (which happened to us last weekend). They are always filming movies and music videos in the area. There is so much going on in New York City and there is a great need and an opportunity for evangelization. But it has to be done correctly as Fr. Maduri has figured out. Young, smart, trend-setting Catholics (as well as young people of other faiths) are living in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Astoria, Jackson Heights, Park Slope, Red Hook, Carroll Gardens to name just a few neighborhoods and with the right evangelization plan and some creative, innovative ideas, these young people can be reached. Creative evangelization and out-of-the-box thinking is the key to the future success of urban parishes.
Catholicism has something of value and much spiritual wisdom to offer young people, people of all ages. It just has to be "packaged" in the right way.

A Blessed Advent to All.