A Franciscan Parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit


April 4, 2021

Easter is a time of new beginnings! Like the rainbow af-ter the rain, we enjoy the first signs of spring, the return of warmer weather, the budding of the trees and flowers. East-er and spring are a great time of year! After almost a year of pause and restrictions due to the pandemic, we need the Easter spirit and energy! We are beginning to be filled with hope and expectation that there may be some light at the end of the tunnel and some return to normalcy.

Many social commentators have remarked that we should not just return to the way things were, but that we should use the good things and perhaps reprioritize what we learned during this time to influence and shape how we begin again and how we move forward. There is wisdom in that insight.

Though we still need to be careful and work to keep one another safe and healthy, in the coming months we will need to “rebuild” the parish. (We will follow the guidelines of the Archdiocese about when we are able to resume in person gatherings, etc.) We are, however, able to gather now, with some necessary restrictions, for liturgical celebrations. We will also begin again with a new sense of community, being part of a Family of Parishes with Divine Providence Lithuanian, Our Lady of LaSalette, and Our Mother of Perpetual Help. However, a number of Transfiguration parishioners have decided they can no longer serve in some ministries, like usher, lector, Eucharistic minister due to age or infirmity. We are hoping to rebuild these ministries.

As we begin again, I would like to share something that I recently read:

In a typical/average parish, there are three groups of peo-ple: the 7%, the 11%, and the 82%. The 7% are the most en-gaged and involved group. They are regular weekly Mass attendees and do almost all of the financial giving and volunteering at a parish. They are all "in." Then you have the 11%. These are the Catholics who still identify as Catholic, who come to mass most of the time, but do not choose to be involved in other activities. Then you have the 82%. These folks rarely volunteer or contribute to the parish. Some of them still show up from time to time, but the vast majority only come monthly, or Christmas and Easter, or a few times a year. I don’t know if that exactly reflects our parish, but it is reflective of general trends of our society and church.

The 82% is also the group that was already slowly drifting out of parishes (6 leave for every 1 that joins). They are the ones most at risk of not coming back from the COVID lockdowns. The good news is that they still have an attachment to the parish and the church and were still showing up in church from time to time, even if only for a funeral or wedding or first communion.

But this is where the huge opportunity remains... the 82%. Most parishes do well in caring for the 7%, but how can we reach the 11% and the 82% more effectively? I don’t have the answers, so I invite you to think about that with me. Think about it with an Easter mind and Easter attitude. Can you help serve in some ministry? Can you help us reach out to your family, neighbors, and friends? One of my favorite poems comes from the Jesuit poet Gerard Manly Hopkins. In the poem, he turns Easter into a verb: Let Him Easter in us, he wrote. That is my prayer for Transfiguration and our Family of Parishes as we begin again.

Happy Easter!

Fr. Jeff 


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