The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lost, but not forgotten

A popular Christian website that focuses on those who do good unto others and those with God given talents share true stories for the world to see. Every now and again they post reactions of children when their father or mother returns from the army, the excitement so overwhelming that it can bring tears to your eyes as you watch. This one particular clip showed an army man returning home and his dog seeing him for the very first time in years. If you were only listening to the audio and not watching the video you would honestly believe that a child was crying after seeing their parent. The dog (a very big dog) jumped up into his master's arms causing him to take a seat because of the weight. The dog whimpered and groaned with excitement that his master has returned. We see similarly see how a father greeted his lost son after he left and squandered all of his possessions in this Sunday's Gospel reading.

The light bulb illuminated today after a very interesting Parish meeting, making way for the birth of a post after having not produced any articles in months. I've had a very difficult time recently trying to put pen to paper as I felt severely separated from the Spirit therefore loosing all inspiration to write for my blog. I can honestly say that I can relate to the separation from God that Mother Theresa endured on many occasions during her life. Having no knowledge of what the meeting was going to be about or what was going to be discussed I came with an open mind. I can not stress enough that the views expressed are solely mine and have no reflection on the Archdiocese of Nassau.

As the conversation went on, the matter concerning the construction of a new building for St. Thomas More came up with some persons sitting on one side of the fence while others were on the other side. Everyone would love to have a brand new Church and the members of St. Thomas More are no exception, but one must ask what warrants the construction of a new Church? Is the current one falling apart? Has the lease expired and the property owner wants to take back the building? Or is the Church bursting out of the seams due to the increase of members? When will a new Church be constructed for St. Thomas More and where will the location be was the popular question for the evening. No one really had the definite answer, but a very good point was raised to consider; whether a new Church at the location specified many years ago is even necessary any longer? Or course that statement was met with much hostility as it became evident that some members were tired of waiting. But one must ask if St. Thomas More has the member count necessary to sustain the upkeep and maintenance of such a building that was planned years ago.

It may become necessary for the Parish to take a consensus as to whether each member is for or against a new Church building. Maybe, just maybe it may be wise to renovate the current Parish until such time as it becomes necessary for a new one. As the saying goes "if it ain't broke don't fix it." So this brings me to my personal view point as to why I gave much thought to the Gospel reading of the son who went away and squandered his father's money. It is a known fact and a sad one to say the least that many Dioceses in the U.S had to close many of its Churches due to the decline in the number of parishioners. Why is this happening and is our Parishes showing a decline in the pews?Are our pews becoming empty at St Thomas More? Granted many members move from Parish to Parish, but there are also many who leave the Church completely and join other denominations. Why is this happening and what can be done to curb this dilemma?

As a body, what are we doing to ensure that those who feel neglected and separated from the body are given the necessary instruction to ensure their security and placement within the Church? So many times our members leave because they feel as though they are not heard when they speak and do not feel as though they belong. Each body part plays a vital role in the growth and function of the body therefore when one part aches the other parts feel the ache as well and thus do its part to provide the necessary care. As the body of Christ are we doing our part to ensure that no member is lost or feels abandoned? When we miss a member from Church do we take the time to investigate whether the person is ill or may be considering switching Churches? It would mean the world to me if I received a phone call to inquire if I am doing alright after having been absent from Church.

When a member who has been away from Church for a while returns do we make them feel as though they were missed by going up to them and talking with them? How about if a stranger walks into our Parishes, do we greet them afterwards and make them feel as though they are welcomed and loved? I believe we get so caught up in our own personal affairs that we neglect to pay attention to those around us who show signs of neglect and abandonment. Therefore many of our members leave to find a place that makes them feel welcomed and special. So a new Church building (as great as it sounds) has to have members to put in it. Why would I want to build a 5 bedroom home after my children are grown and on their own? It just doesn't make any sense. I would be better off with a brand new 2 bedroom home or I can spend much less renovating my current home to make me and my wife happy.

We as the Body of Christ must do our part to evangelize and build up the Church and not expect that it is the responsibility of the Parish Priest or Diocese. I am reminded of the recent closure of two Catholic Schools within the Archdiocese of Nassau and how it affected many students who called them home, but in order to survive the difficult decision had to be made. I will probably take heat from some of the members at my Parish for my views, but these are the sentiments of many. There will always be those who agree and those who disagree and that is fine, as long as we come together as a community united in Christ. When a member who has been away for a while returns why don't you "bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found."

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