Pastor’s Page – A Young Parish

“But Jesus said, “”Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”” – Matthew 18:14

Several of you shared with me the “Houses of Worship” column from February 16’s Wall Street Journal titled, “If a Parish Isn’t Crying, It’s Dying.” The author, Mark Naida, was a parishioner of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Hillsdale, Michigan. It sounds like our parish with “cooing and shouting—often from newborns.”

Another similarity: “a stack of bookmark-size cards at the end of each pew informs visitors” about its philosophy that a “crying parish” is a thriving parish. We’ve received many compliments from parishioners and visitors about the cards and I wonder if they’re responsible for the steady increase in attendance among young families and young couples soon to expand their families.
Incidentally, it was a parishioner who brought back one of these cards from another parish. If you see great ideas at parishes you visit during travel, please bring them back! Besides sharing with me or another staff member, you can also direct it to the appropriate committee of the pastoral council by visiting, clicking on Leadership then Pastoral Council, then scrolling the form at the bottom of the list of members.

You may have missed a statistic on the recent “Forward in Faith Report.” According to a three-month survey by our ushers, one-third (30-31%) of the assembly at the 9 and 11 AM Masses is under the age of 18. This puts those Masses right in line with the borough’s rate of 33%, according to US Census data. As we are all aware, Haddonfield is a young town – the state portion of residents under 18 is only 21.5%. Let’s keep moving in the right direction!