Parish name: St. Paul the Apostle
Location (City, State): Westerville, Ohio
Year founded: 1913
Diocese: Diocese of Columbus
Pastor: Rev. Charles F. Klinger
Number of parishioners: 4100+ registered families
Parish website: http://stpaulcatholicchurch.org/
Don’t wait for kids to grow up before showing them how to share the wealth.
This year I did something I swore I would never do: I ditched the parish pledge envelopes and signed up for automatic deduction.
Get married in the church—if you can afford it.
The moment was 79 years ago, but it is as fresh in my mind as if it were yesterday: I was a first grader in Catholic school and as such was expected to attend the 9 a.m. Sunday children’s Mass. But I overslept, so my dad rushed me over to attend the adult Mass in the lower church at 9:30 a.m. I was excited about attending Mass with my dad and the “big folks.” It would also give me bragging rights at school the next day. As we approached the church entrance, there were men sitting at desks collecting “seat money.” My dad did not have the 10 cents they required, so the usher turned us away.
Young qualified Catholics don’t need to earn their stripes before taking on church leadership roles.
Most people don’t dream of working for the institutional church; it’s not high on the list for childhood career days or suggestions of what to be when one grows up. But I’m not most people.
It’s difficult to ensure parishioners from different cultures all feel welcome.
A wet knot on a pair of sneakers is hard to untie—even harder when they’re on your feet. As the pastor of a multigenerational, multicultural, and multilingual (Spanish, Vietnamese, and English) parish, I at times feel responsible for untying a lot of wet knots.
Catholics with celiac disease struggle for inclusion in the church's one body.
My three teenage daughters and I sat on jackets on the sidewalk. We were part of a much larger human jigsaw puzzle, one that morphed every few minutes from sitting to standing to kneeling on the sandpapery concrete in front of a Subway in downtown Philadelphia.
We couldn’t see the altar except on the jumbotron, but no one hesitated saying the response: “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
The Cathedral of St. Peter used affordable senior housing to meet the needs of the marginalized right on their block.
Sixty-nine-year-old John Eckford is always ready to welcome a guest to his one-bedroom apartment. On the table next to his front door are displayed two small bottles of London dry gin and strawberry daiquiri mix. Eckford describes his home as “a bachelor pad.” It features two white leather couches, a flat screen television, and matching red cookware.
Parishioners and their priest must work together to create a vibrant parish community.
When I was growing up, my family belonged to a vibrant, close-knit parish community. It was a parish with a lot of history—my dad grew up there, and many other families had also been members for decades. My siblings and I were baptized there, made our first communions there, and dutifully attended Sunday school there week after week.
How can parents pass on the faith if they’re sequestered during Mass?
The host is raised upstairs, at least I imagine it is. I’m not in the sanctuary. Instead, I’m in a basement room, where the wires in the ceiling lead to a speaker box in the corner of the room. From that box sounds the blessing of the simple bread and the feast of the body and blood of Christ. The boy sitting at the table below the box holds out his Lego sculpture, and his mother says, “Isaiah, are you showing her your dinosaur?”