The Armchair Liturgist: Clutter for the Cause

armchair1.jpgAs many of you know, Iowa was hit badly by floods and tornadoes this year. The need is still great, as many people are now three, four months into exile and some charitable folks have moved on to Texas or another cause.

A friend organized a household-item-drive at her church (not mine) and encountered some resistance from the pastor. When a parish has an ample narthex (gathering space) is it a good idea to have boxes of household items and food in a corner of it or along the wall? Was the pastor out-of-line for suggesting it all be moved into the ushers’ room during a parish mission and Sunday Mass? One pastor I worked for liked to have items donated not only in the narthex, but in the church proper as well. As the armchair liturgist, what do you say?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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5 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: Clutter for the Cause

  1. Anne says:

    These items are donated with the intention that they are to be given away. IMO it doesn’t matter where they are placed and accumulated. It’s temporary. Visibility is also a reminder to others.

  2. I agree with Anne. I think that things should be visible in this case… as a reminder of need and as a reminder that life is not neat and tidy.

    We have a space in our gathering area that gets “cluttered” each week with food items for a pantry and there is also a basinette with items for BirthRight.

    All of them are along a wall- so not in the way, but a clear and present reminder.

    Thanks for this thought provoking post. Prayers for all.


  3. I’m thoroughly in favor of baskets and boxes in the gathering space for collecting whatever it is we’re collecting at the moment on behalf of some folks in some need – and we’re always collecting!

    Neatness and safety are factors, of course, but such collections have just as much a place in the church as a poor box or other receptacle for receiving cash.

    The times when I run into conflict about this in my own parish is when wedding parties ask me to “have all that stuff moved” by the time of the wedding liturgy. I tell them that such items are part of our parish life and parish life doesn’t go on hold for anyone’s wedding.

  4. I am in favor of having baskets for items to be given away. At the end of the day however it is up to the paster. If they think that it takes away from some aspect of our experience then they have the right to move it. I would not worry about it and would think of other ways to help out.

  5. I say we should show evidence of love and generosity whenever and however possible. Looks messy? Gee, so does the aftermath of a flood. In my rarely humble opinion, the pastor needs to get his priorities straight and focus less on decor and more on pastoral care.

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