Give it that old college try

Macchiarola, Frank J.

in his notebooks, together with samples of their penmanship. ...

...He was not a writer, but he liked to put things decrepit...
...Yet, such gy always warmed my chaplain's heart...
...This turnover guarantees that community must be re- (Continued on page 13) newed constantly if it is to survive, let alone prosper...
...one-third of their alienation to simple adolescent carp- REGINA PLUNKETT DOWLING ing, another third to the reach of the prevailing culture Regina Plunkett Dowling is the former chaplain at Saint and its current crop of idols (personal choice, disposable Joseph College in West Hartford, Connecticut...
...The Deadline: October 1, 1993...
...designed such a satisfying ritual...
...I n late August, with subtle colors just beginning to show (Continued on page 10) up in the trees outside my dusty window, I take stock of the year past...
...In fact, Catholics take a This is like a car dealer boasting that while consumers may certain satisfaction in appearing not to proselytize...
...Here the strategy is through...
...A majority of the pupils can neither Frank J. Macchiarola read nor write, while a large percent have never been at school...
...Jesus' progress toward Jerusalem, liturgy committee, had to be a gift of the Holy Spirit...
...For themselves, or for right...
...the strength of the Holy Spirit and the power of prayer are, for me, very real...
...I grip my pencil with resolve and purpose, and start on the top of the page, on the left side...
...The process of change, like death and taxes, is Brian Doyle inevitable and the community knows it...
...The focus then has to be on how the company sells tention to the task of inviting them to join the church and par- what it has to offer those who now need the product...
...Since Vatican II, the church has saidthe interests and talents of particular members...
...But with fewer and fewer clergy, there are in terests-catechesis, choir, shelters, home care, youth groups, some minds, fewer and fewer services to be had...
...with the chaplain in charge of campus religious programs, so What most strikes me as the difference between parish and also in the parish: the reach of the good news, if you will, has campus is "market strategy...
...needs satisfied...
...Of course, there are parishes that are exceptions, but in the main, most parishes I know feel threatened by change...
...In the larger scheme of things I M y grandfather was not an intellectual, but he liked to am ruddily healthy, neither thin nor fat, neither acrobatic nor read...
...As fessor of business in two universities...
...When this happens in the traditional uct" alive...
...GIVE IT THAT His notebooks also register the frustrations of a teacher in those rural hills...
...If we could leave off feeling harried and train our at"The best thing about Mass," she went on, "is how it's tention on our younger brothers and sisters, what would not really Catholic...
...Well, what exactly do you mean altar...
...Put down we will secure a blessing for all God's people...
...Original meaning of church is a building...
...Openness to strangers, to newcomers, to essay will become the property of the Graymoor those who must be invited to join with us is the way we spread Ecumenical Institute...
...The community pays little-or perhaps no-at- customers...
...0 to their authors after January 1. Frank Macchiarola is dean of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University...
...They are surgery next year, probably...
...The successful Catholic...
...This last, being susceptible to remedy, ushers in the further temptation to educate: if only A Catholic college-age Catholics could read (pick four out of six)in the cafeteria Merton, Lumen gentium, Flannery O'Connor, Teresa of Avila, Raymond Brown commentaries, or Commonweal...
...I am camped out in mid-life, right on the continental divide...
...Announcement of Prize: lessons of successful campus ministry are clear: change is a December 17,1993...
...fort will flounder, I'm afraid, if students aren't first incor"No, what exactly...
...Beginning with my own They want, in short, to be part of the One Body of Christ...
...we hear...
...Health: Overall, not bad...
...His full enrollment was fourteen-seven girls and seven Hair: Hanging on with surprising strength...
...Spontaneous student confessions of enthusiasm for the litur- Moreover, this is what they themselves desire...
...Their customer base is constantly growI do this from my perspective as the former head of a business ing...
...Catholics who had grown up in the fabled dioceses of the The impatience of younger Catholics can chafe, and their Midwest, where, it was reported, things were "different...
...Visiting celebrants who favor the swift, direct, concrete appeal...
...The "physical" quality of this image is reinforced by the con- At the same time, the faithful customer will remain with the cept of parish boundaries, which are often also used to estab- company if the product, as improved, continues to offer the lish and describe membership-"I live in Saint Z...
...When a lay person can say, as I have in pre-Cana dis- organization as well as his ability to perceive the needs of others and to satisfy them...
...There is no desire for permanence...
...we are all "passing through" and the parish needs lished in COMMONWEAL'S January 14, 1994, issue...
...They don't want to wait until they're fifty before mental, rigid, exclusive"-a tissue of impressions, gath- they can serve as lectors or eucharistic ministers...
...apers or baby food...
...Because this temporary condition is understood, campus religious communities treat the phenomenon of "passing through" I'M OK, I'M OK...
...The If only...
...As a result, God The campus minister and the baby food manufacturer know seems to take on an important and changing meaning...
...In think- a healthy business is always developing new customers and trying of the church, it is often these buildings that come to mind...
...Some years ago boys-ranging in age from seven to eighteen...
...And new potential customers need to be told that there is organization, as a corporate director, and, until recently, a pro- a company out there with a quality product they will want...
...Many parishes would not understand or accept this way of 4Z16-P1 looking at their situation...
...we are not members if we and unpublished essays of approximately 2,500-4,000 are not engaged in the work of the church...
...The role of delivering and receiving the services of the church is in the hands of the whole faith community...
...Left lobbing their demands through the noise of the crowd, solely to our own devices, we humans could never have fended off by harried disciples...
...Unless the laity are challenged to participate in the church and to be part of a productive system where they have roles to fill, spiritual development will also "take place over their heads...
...If a company is not Over the same years, I have also observed and lived in Catholic seeking new markets, the quality of its product will be comparishes...
...Cam- As his family grew, grandfather left teaching in 1895 and pus ministers usually understand that they face a major chal- moved to Louisville where he took a job cleaning coaches for lenge in developing and maintaining a sense of community...
...We are not church if the aspect of ecumenical or interreligious affairs...
...year, like Thanksgiving...
...They want ered layer by layer in the parish of her youth, hardened to he invited...
...pays a great deal of attention to advertising and communicatThere is an elementary business principle at work here: a busi- ing, often in many languages and through different means...
...Yet she gave me an invaluable gift, forcing me to ward glance...
...manufacturers of consumer products, such as paper diapers or Having seen this contrast between parish ministry and cam- of baby food, have come to understand that their market has pus ministry, I believe there are some lessons to be drawn that to be broader than the young families currently purchasing diwould be useful to the parish and perhaps the future of the church...
...ward the ceiling...
...On campus students are being chal- to be aggressive and constant...
...In a sense, its goal is not unlike Jesus' instruction to the disciples, "teach all nations...
...Here the process of coming and going is not seen in promised...
...Hers was a familiar refrain...
...The basic quality the customer is looking for and to which he or changing composition of a parish community is often seen as she is accustomed...
...Age: Thirty-six...
...12: 10 September 1993 Commonweal...
...The mind works relatively smoothly...
...There were exceptions, to be sure-mostly all the church...
...be known...
...This to adopt that spirit...
...From the standpoint of measuring the true efficacy of religious institutions, my analysis should be understood to be quite limited and at best incomplete...
...The prize-winning essay will be pub- good thing...
...The winning essay will receive $1,000 and will sidered a theory, but above all else a basis and a motivation be published in COMMONWEAL...
...The result is a dynamic and changing community that Catholics rarely encounter elsewhere in the church...
...to their own particular fears and failings and moments of Out poured the adjectives: "cold, remote, unfeeling, judg- grace...
...In fact, The Friars of Atonement announce the fourth annual we are not truly church-regardless of our roles-if we are Graymoor Prize, to be awarded to the best essay on any not working at these same tasks...
...Companies that refuse to develop new markets cannot survive...
...I do not mean to imply here that applying sound business principles to evangelization can deal with the intangibles...
...Old-timers pass away or move to uct, particularly when the product fills a real need, is a necessuburbia and newcomers replace them, many of whom are not sary part of a successful marketing strategy...
...All other essays will be returned the message of God...
...They remind me adorned the Mass with ad-libbed prayers were subject to of the Galilean and Judean villagers following, from the gentle rebuke...
...They want to walk into church on She said the word "Catholic" with a small moue of dis- Sunday and be called by name...
...I smiled in gracious anticipation...
...more credible than when that message comes from someone In campus ministry new markets are sought out and new in the "prayer business...
...they take the loss not as a sign of decline and decay, one of serving a community that is thought of as already in place but as an opportunity to find new customers...
...for action...
...Thus ing, the school, the convent, the rectory to maintain...
...porated into their own local churches...
...I had back down...
...Successful ticipate in parish life...
...For the most part this means that there are parishes using strategies that cannot work...
...and lay members of the campus community often assume roles left oXvERS'F~ in parishes to priests and parish staff...
...In fact, some jobs cannot be done as was the land and later capital-understood as a total complex well by the clergy...
...Notwithstanding that, it seems to me that parish life in its present form is in need of some significant overhaul and that marketI ing strategies might very well be helpful...
...The pope is speaking of the economy and workers, but apply his words to the church and the laity...
...I kept the simple lines of tra- tend not to possess a theological vocabulary...
...do not have the means which would enable them to take their place in an effective and humanly dignified way within a productive system in which work is truly central...
...The pope himself words should be submitted to the editors of COMMON- writes, "the social message of the gospel must not be conWEAL...
...Still others, like this sophomore, bloomed with ago in Corinth: how thoroughly all our elaborate labors on enthusiasm, but were anchored to the church by fragile behalf of grace are dependent on the simplest gestures of roots...
...When the comand its future dependent on retaining the past rather than fig- pany takes that reality seriously, it markets aggressively and uring out how to grow and welcome newcomers...
...In parish that the customers they "lose" have actually been "passing life the emphasis is on resisting change...
...Worked three months without missing of those they minister to are born into a campus community a day," he tells me, " and was discharged by John Shelton, foreand few die there...
...Our task, then, is to go beyond mere form in the parish...
...10: 10 September 1993 Commonweal Take, for example, the matter of evangelization...
...Nothing to be done about it...
...thoughtlessness can sting...
...in a confident way...
...These new residents are often seen as a loss for the company has to search aggressively and constantly for new community...
...But this efthe chapel...
...This price increase will drive customers to more aggressive competitors...
...how many parishes in the inner-city boast of the great num- The real pride in Catholic inner-city schools, it seems to me, bers of non-Catholics attending their school, yet many have a would come when the parents of students at these schools are third to ignorance...
...Basic stuff...
...For the hyper-educated and for pastoral leaders (I qual- We can do better by the younger members of the church...
...Others stayed in, falling in love with the Body recognize anew what Paul first saw two thousand years of Christ...
...In this regard two dynamic dimensions of campus ministry could be useful for FP~~EID reflecting on parish life: the process of change is constant...
...The company's fidelity to the basic proda sign of decline and decay...
...Maybe I should just plan on it every like letters from a close relative in a distant land...
...they want to now into a carapace of disdain...
...Many people...
...The Mass, as I often reminded the student margins of the road...
...They want to hear, now and then, a word addressed by Catholic...
...Dinnertime in the college cafeteria...
...American policy of not inviting parents to consider joining the church...
...With standards relaxed, longtime customers-who the same challenging way...
...This is not an invitation from on stood, for many of these tasks fall to the initiative and re- high, it is an essential part of the process of keeping the "prodsponsibility of the laity...
...sophomore was beaming at me across the Chicken Education is an essential means of incorporating younger Marengo...
...lenged to find more meaningful ways to live...
...A few years later he wrote at the beginning of a term: OLD COLLEGE TRY "There are but few persons in the district which take any interest at all in school affairs...
...In order to meet this challenge, campus ministers must delegate to others a number of important tasks...
...The roles of the members of the I n addition to restricting the role of the laity, parishes often community reflect a broad set of tasks...
...The price of the company's products will rise with the inevitable rise in (Macchiarola continued from page 9) the cost of producing its product...
...candidate at Yale University...
...hospitality...
...If the gift is awkward to receive, so be it...
...their younger sisters, they want a chance to serve at the I recovered my voice...
...I think about the time left to me and I realize that time is without apt metaphor or simiTIME RELIGION le...
...This is a sure food distribution, prayer groups, Scripture study-often reflect sign of a major problem...
...Maybe I should have a special meal On Saturday, November 18, 1889, he sat in his one-room around the event...
...Just as Christians are supposed to think of death as passage to a greater life, these Christian communities AREN'T I? treat passage to a different community following graduation in a positive way...
...Ah, Surgery Day," I'll think, and envision log schoolhouse in Hardin County, Kentucky, where planks succulent salmon steaks and heaping mounds of peas, and served as desks while the blackboard was made of "old rough- nameless uncles sleeping off the meal in the parlor, with their ly dressed lumber," and wrote the words I read now: "Owing vests half-buttoned and their cigars smoking themselves quito unfavorable weather, have only attendance of three pupils...
...They have no way of entering the network of knowledge and intercommunication which would enable them to see their qualities appreciated and utilized...
...everything after that was a slide down the hill...
...At present income, and the perfect body a la MTV), and the final she is a Ph.D...
...Aristotle thought that thirty-five was the peak of a man's life...
...John Paul sees enhanced human development as critical and warns that those unable to participate in society may be driven to a life of despair...
...There is, after all, the church build- have retained product loyalty-will look for a substitute...
...He served as chancellor of New COMMONWEAL 15 Dutch Street, New York, York City's public schools from 1978 to 1983...
...Youngsters turned off on religion are encouraged to rediscover the church...
...of several colleges and universities over many years...
...Catholics are hesitant to evangelize...
...etly, the columns of smoke rising in unbroken columns toFirst snow of the season fell at about half-past eleven o' clock...
...Bertha is my name...
...Time goes too fast, and children sprout like weeds, and the men and women I love decline and Bud Johnson fall, also like weeds...
...This essay is New York 10038 based on a speech given at the Business Vocation Conference in Milwaukee...
...On college campuses where the reality of God's presence in the world THE GRAYMOOR PRIZE and in the lives of the students has to be worked at constantly, the process is vital and energizing-and it is church...
...Commonweal 10 September 1993: 11 eagerly sought after-as sought after as the tuition-to join cussions, that prayer has a substantial role in family life, it is the church...
...ify on both counts), it is easy and tempting to dismiss the If we invite them to take the choicest places at the table, complaints of teen-agers and college students...
...The community's in- of the priest...
...Their names are (Continued on page 15) Commonweal 10 September 1993: 9 ness that only serves the same customers is doomed...
...Not young, not old...
...Soon THAT OLD- all my water will flow to another sea...
...they want to be acknowledged...
...He was especially proud of seven-year-old Bertha Fowler who wrote in a large, firm hand: "The man has a hat...
...Think of buy the competition's car, he services them at his repair shop...
...college classmates, I had listened to changes rung on the Their thirst for inclusion is a gift from the Holy Spirit for same theme...
...John Paul II speaks the same message in Centesimus parish, it is usually seen as a kind of default: not enough priests annus: "Whereas at one time the decisive factor of production on hand to do the job...
...It is how we ought to be church...
...Several priests have mentioned to me their of the instruments of production-today the decisive factor is difficulty in convincingly delivering a spiritual message with increasingly man himself, that is, his knowledge, especially his credibility to people who know the limits of a priest's experi- scientific knowledge, his capacity for interrelated and compact ence...
...Certainly that night in the cafeAmong those angered or disgusted or wearied by their home teria, I had a great desire to throttle my sophomore comparish, many walked away from the church without a back- panion...
...Those I know dition uncluttered, or tried to...
...And with membership see their services primarily as product delivery on the part constantly changing, tasks also change...
...ing to improve the quality of its product...
...Indifference, indigent circumstances, and sickness all together I have observed and participated in the campus religious life are the reason for such a small enrollment at this time...
...Though he died almost sixty years ago, he still surgery last year, I had back surgery this year, I'll have back speaks to me through the notebooks he left behind...
...Few the Southern Railway...
...Nothing to be done about it...
...You know the thing I like best about Mass in Catholics into the wider community of faith...
...The tasks often though been slow to implement-that the services of the church are not institutionalized, and "lay ministry" is broadly under- are also delivered by the laity...
...Not that I could a desire may often go undetected just because students take much credit for myself...
...each semester, students go and new ones man, because of my Catholicity, Shelton being a member of come...
...They want music good gust, as if recalling an ancient aunt who didn't smell quite enough that songs become prayers...
...Time is not like anything...
...the church truly is people moving through life...
...Yet this is rarely understood...

Vol. 120 • September 1993 • No. 15


 
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