Saturday, March 1, 2014
Rural Catholics, Urban Parish..Life on the Outskirts
My husband and I have been trying to make regular confessions. Ideally, once every other week to once a month. We come and go a lot between home and town, so really, it shouldn't be so difficult, right?
But it is difficult. Really difficult. It's difficult in part, because the confessions times are not designed with a working schedule in mind: 3 or 4pm on weekdays. We can never make these times for confession (except for last week! Vacation has so many benefits!). In general though, even if Seth gets off work early, he first has to go home to collect Yarrow and me, then drive into town. And we absolutely must arrive at least 10 minutes early, or else the line will be too long to actually make a confession before the allotted time is up. Saturdays are usually our only option. Saturdays are usually also our only option for splitting and stacking firewood, clearing snow, and hauling trash to the dump; or in summer, it's the only time to extend the pig pen, cut firewood, repair building..all sorts of upkeeping-sorts-of-tasks..It get's difficult, but generally we manage, and we're grateful our priest try so hard to make confession available to those of us who do have to do more than dart down the road and into the confessional.
But there's more to parish-life than Liturgy and confession..This year the Feast of St. Blaise was on a Monday, and the blessing was available only at the 7 am Mass. Seven am, on a Monday. I resented all the little old ladies in town with nothing to keep them from blessed and happy throats..
The point of all my little complaints is this:
"The rural family must regain it's place at the heart of the social order." said Pope Benedict, and yet how can we when to participate in the social life and sacraments of the Church, we have to pretend to be and live in the same rhythm as the urban and suburban families around us?
It's a question I'm not even close to answering. Suburban families have many needs, and I certainly don't want them ignored..but as more and more families flee the towns and cities for rural life (and we know so many making similar journeys into the country), the parish will have to adjust in some way or the rural family will have no real place in the social order of the Church, only an indirect and uncertain one - darting into parish life when we can and missing out on the heart of things.