I love my faith. I love the fullness of faith and the truth that the Roman Catholic Church gives. There is also a lot of "variety" when it comes to parishes though. There are some parishes that are very ultra conservative and then there are some that are very liberal. I was thinking it over the other day and came up with ten things I like to see in a Catholic parish
1) For the church to look like a Catholic Church---I like to see statues reminding me of the saints in heaven. I like to see a crucifix. I like seeing the tabernacle right up front so I don't have to look around for it. I like walking into a church and having no doubt that I am in a Catholic church.
2) Catechisis in the Homily--I used to think that Catholics were poorly educated about their faith because the priest only has about ten minutes to give a sermon as opposed to protestant ministers who may preach for an hour or so. But over the years, I've seen priests who are able to teach during the homily. I've discovered that it's not too difficult. They simply quote from the catechism. They quote the saints and popes. They provide the teaching of the church is a simple way.
3) Honesty from the pulpit--I've heard many feel good homilies but that's not what we always need to hear. Sometimes we need to hear that our actions are wrong and why. Sometimes we need to hear that hell is real and that Satan is a liar. We don't always need fire and brimstone preached to us but we need to hear the truth. After all, our goal is to get to Heaven and sometimes we need to be reminded what the alternative is.
4) Prayers to end abortion--why this isn't a petetion at every mass I don't know
5) Prayers for the souls in purgatory--very basic, very Catholic. I was especially touched once when I heard during the prayers of the faithful, "and especially for those who don't have anyone to pray for them."
6) Latin--I believe that the mass should be said in the vernacular but it is very nice to hear the Holy, Holy, Holy or the Lamb of God in Latin to remind us of the language of the church and that the church is universal.
7) Kneelers--how awesome it is to be able to kneel in prayer, or to kneel during the consecration. If we truly believe that the Eucharist is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus then why wouldn't we be kneeling?
8) Purification of the vessels--we don't see this at a lot of places---when the priest carefully cleanses the sacred vessels that contain the Eucharist and clears the table. This only takes a couple of minutes, but I think it is a subtle reminder that the Euscharist is special and that these items that have contained the Eucharist must be treated with respect and not just set aside like dirty dishes to be cleaned later.
9) Loyalty to the Magisterium and her teachings---this one should be obvious but you don't always see it. The parish is a Catholic parish and it should not be embarrassed of the Church's teachings. The parish and it's members should be ready to defend them. They should show respect to her bishops, archbishops or cardinals.
10) Ample Times for Confession---Anyone who has read my blog knows I'm a big fan of confession. I think it should be offered daily. I heard once that any parish that only offers it once a month or once a week really doesn't offer it.
Those are my top ten---off the top of my head. What are things you like to see in a parish??