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A Model Parish -- In the Cradle of Democracy (Sat Apr 1, 2006 1:07 pm )

ARCC's President, Len Swidler, has been giving a series of Lenten Lectures on DEMOCRACY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH in the church hall of Old St. Mary's Church at 252 S. 4th St. in Philadelphia. These are the closing paragraphs of the final lecture on March 29, given in the Cradle of American Democracy. May these words echo and bear fruit in all our towns and cities.

We also know that when we sleep the sleep, not of the innocent, but of the passive, of the non--responsible, that bad things do happen to real< people. We here in Philadelphia, as in many other cities, are still stinging under the blows of the Grand Jury Report on Clergy Sexual Misconduct. Terrible things have happened to our brothers and sisters, and we did nothing to protect them. We can say that we knew nothing about it. Fair enough. But we can no longer say that! We here at Old St. Mary's Church have an extraordinary opportunity to take up our responsibilities that not many parishes in this diocese are given. We are extraordinarily blessed with a pastor who has the vision, self- confidence, and courage to call for us to come forth and take up our responsibilities, to be mature Catholics. With this blessing comes a corresponding responsibility, that is, from those to whom much is given, much is expected.

There are endless things that this parish can do that will be of immense value to the members and to many individuals and groups outside it. We have a beautiful church building. In fact, we have two! Each has a fantastic historic tradition that ought to be mined, taught, and harnessed. Our location in the center of the city, a stone's throw from the Freedom shrines, puts us in a unique situation to do creative things. With a carefully thought through and written Constitution and live participation in those areas that are vital to a parish, like a finance committee, a liturgy committee, a music committee, an outreach committee, lawyers committee, education committee.... St. Mary's should become a model which will both draw to itself those Catholics starving for spiritual vitality, and will inspire others to imitate our structured dynamism.

Other voices

Another Voice

Questions From a Ewe

Challenges Facing Catholicism
(Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in converation with Dr Ingrid Shafer)

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