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/
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?”
The church is a place where all are welcomed and where everyone belongs.
When Wendy Zimmerman wanted to join her boyfriend, Eddie Knack, for Sunday Mass, it took some doing.
Zimmerman has an intellectual disability that precludes her from driving and living fully independently. So over four weeks, a staff member from Zimmerman’s group home attended church with the couple. Each time the worker explained to Zimmerman where to exit in an emergency and where the restroom is so that Zimmerman would feel safe and comfortable.
Now Zimmerman and Knack attend Mass on their own. They sit right up front.
A pastoral letter from the U.S. bishops won’t solve racism. Becoming an intercultural church might.
In 1979 the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a pastoral letter on racism entitled “Brothers and Sisters to Us.” It was significant because it was the strongest statement by the U.S. bishops declaring racism a sin. However, a problematic title to this otherwise dynamic document seemed to perpetuate exactly this racial “us” versus “them” the document itself was trying to alleviate. Just who is “us”? critics asked, pointing out how the title implied that the American church’s membership and leadership was of European descent.