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Monsignor Harry J. Byrne, JCD * * * Comment/contact:larchstar@aol.com

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Location: 3103 Arlington Avenue,, Bronx, NY 10463, United States

May 29, 2010

A "GRASS ROOTS" PARISH!

NY Times columnist, Nicholas D. Kristof, has on several occasions disinguished between "the old boys, Vatican club" and the "grass roots Church" of priests and nuns on the front lines. A leadership quality has been described as "listening to people, making sure they know they are being listened to, and assuring them that they are making solid contributions of value to the life and progress of the enterprise." The "old boys" crowd are not widely known for listening. A successful pastor listens. Ed Byrne, pastor of St. Ann's in Ossining, listens to the parish council, his staff at weekly meetings, occasional general parish assemblies on major issues, and the Ossining community.

He has been successful in reaching out to the Hispanic community. When he arrived at St. Ann's some years ago, there was one weekend Mass in Spanish. Now there are three. One of these is at 10:30 on Sunday in the school building. The English-speaking Mass at the same time is offered in the church. A leader in the Hispanic congregation approached his pastor. "Father Ed, our 10:30 Sunday Mass in the school is outgrowing the size of the gym. We average about 400 each Sunday. We checked the 10:30 in the church. It averages about 200 each Sunday. We would like to have the Spanish Mass in the church and the English Mass in the school."

Hmm! The pastor has a problem. But Ed is known as a listener, the parishioners know that, and they know that Father Ed recognizes the value that each parishioner and each ethnic group brings to parish life. So he responds, "Rudolpho, you have a point. But we have a problem. St. Ann's was founded seventy-five years ago by Italian workmen and their families. Many of the younger folks have moved away and Italian parishioners have diminished. But they are mindful of their history here. If we were to put the 10:30 in the school, they would not be happy about it. Some might be so disaffected as to drop out of St. Ann's."

Rudolpho was an intelligent man and recognized the problem. He agreed with Father Ed and dropped his request. Ed had established a relationship with Rudolpho and with parishioners generally that made possible this kind of conversation - and its result!

The "grass roots" church!

3 Comments:

Blogger 雅鈴 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

May 30, 2010 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger 柏勳 said...

一個人最大的敵人常是自己。 ............................................................

June 4, 2010 at 10:54 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Why not alternate every other Sunday? Demographics change the parishes should change with them.

July 20, 2010 at 10:34 PM  

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