Growth Over Time

When I was a kid, I loved to watch that specific effect in film that illustrated growth over time. A seed germinating and its shoot emerging from dirt. The stars in the sky circling around the north celestial pole. Good stuff.

In my ministry at the students center, I see many college people grow substantially in their faith, and how that faith is shared: more self-assurance, deeper comfort with their spiritual gifts, maturity. More good stuff.

We have a visiting priest this weekend, and I also enjoy how his presidential style at liturgy has also evolved over the years. I was fortunate to meet him when he was serving as a deacon in some pastoral months in a previous parish. His gifts as a priest have really grown and blossomed over the years.

At the parish, this was the weekend for implementing pouring the wine at the preparation of the gifts instead of pouring the Precious Blood at the Fraction Rite. I was curious how the assembly would adapt to the different cue for standing at the end of these prayers. At the 10:30 Mass just completed, there was a pause. But the priest just gestured very slightly at the time, and everyone knew to rise.

I’m a big fan of minimalism in worship. If you can get away from telling people, “Please stand … please sit … please kneel,” you should get away from it.Visiting clergy are never sure what subtle cues the resident priests have ingrained in the people. There’s a temptation to speak over the microphone during the people’s spoken parts, and to direct them with words. It took a good level of trust for these subtleties to emerge, but when it did, it seemed like our guest priest had been with us for years.

Any good growth in your parish, your priest, lately? What sort of growth would you commend, and why? And certainly, share any good growth about yourself, if you care to do so.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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2 Responses to Growth Over Time

  1. John Drake says:

    We have seen steady growth in a succession of associate pastors over the last few years. Young priests, in their first or second assignment after ordination, bringing a markedly heightened sense of reverence to the celebration of the sacraments, especially the Mass. Interestingly, each has, progressively, been more “traditional” in his approach, culminating in our current associate pastor, ordained this past May, who celebrates both the Ordinary Form – with great reverence and discipline – as well as the Extraordinary Form of Mass. It is fascinating to see the EF celebrated in a 2005 vintage suburban church.

    Perhaps as a result of these priests’ approach, or perhaps it is coincidence, attendance at the 6:30 am daily Mass has grown from about a dozen five years ago, to 50+ these days.

    We are also seeing much growth in various adult faith formation classes, Legion of Mary, third order Franciscans, and so on.

  2. David D. says:

    Perhaps this is somewhat off topic, but I’ve often wondered whether you and your parish make any particular efforts to cultivate vocations given the large number of student parishioners and, if so, what the results have those efforts have been.

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