Every year, I find myself struggling with Christmas gift shopping. I want to be generous, I like to give people gifts, but I don’t want to give in to the temptation of consumerism that plagues us during the holidays.
In thinking about writing a series for young adults on embracing parish life, I began by informally surveying young adult Catholics in my social networks. The 85 people who responded to my Google survey represent an atypical sampling of millennials (my social networks are exceptionally Catholic-y): 80% attend Mass at least weekly, 80% are registered at their parishes, and 83.5% donate to their parishes at least occasionally. And, yet, only 55.3% of this group can definitively say that they feel like part of their parish communities.
We go to Mass, we’re registered, we donate, but we don’t feel like we belong. What are we missing?
I love budgeting. It might be a slight obsession. My friends and co-workers can attest to my willingness to tell anyone and everyone how wonderful and important it is to budget.
The first expense category on our monthly budget is “Giving,” which includes two separate items: giving to our local parish and giving to a charity or cause (we choose something different each month). I share this not to gloat but to share our strategy; if giving wasn’t the first thing on our budget, we’d easily find other ways to spend our money.
Throughout my 20s and into my early 30s there have been some “defining moments” that have made me feel like I’m slowly but surely reaching adulthood. Getting my car’s oil changed, purchasing and cooking a Thanksgiving turkey, and planting tulip bulbs and various other flowers in my yard are just a few of those moments. Registering at my parish is another.
Choosing a parish can be tricky. A few years ago, our parish experienced a few clergy transitions, which, as you might imagine, affected the “feel” of the parish. When that happened, my husband and I had to decide whether to stick it out and reinvest in our current parish or to take a look at some other parishes in our area closer to our home. Like many new college graduates and transitioning young adults, we found ourselves in the process of choosing a parish.