Last night I watched the world premier of Sharknado Two; the Second One, unfortunately one of the best films of the summer. The movie left off just as the clean up was about to begin. The city is infested with man eating sharks (not enough room here to explain), injured people, and buildings left in rubble – not to mention the flooding. Who is going to help clean all that up?
The Catholic Church. We are so connected as a worldwide Church that we have the mechanisms in place to immediately step in and start bringing aid to those who need it. Catholic hospitals will treat the patients. Catholic social services, Catholic Charities, Catholic work groups would help. Collections from Sunday Masses across the country/world would come streaming in. Catholic services would be set up for those who need the sacraments. The gates of Sharknadodom would not prevail against it.
Think of all the atheist societies that would come to help. The Atheist General Hospital, the Atheist Charitable Society, money would stream in from collections at the Sunday morning atheist community gatherings and from collections taken up at the local Atheist Elementary Schools.
I wonder if the local atheist meeting hall provides as much to a community as the local parish. I think of all the things that this parish provides for this part of Akron. Education, sports, concerts, lectures, arts, community support during times of death, crisis, or illness, retreats, camps, dances, cultural and entertainment events, hubs of information about and how to be involved in local, national, and worldwide concerns, clubs for persons of all ages, youth groups, gardening clubs, beautiful grounds and playgrounds used by the community, charitable organization that reach out to the parish boundaries, to the diocese, and to the world. Permanent jobs are provided for a couple score of people in everything from teaching and arts to ministry and business offices. Other recent jobs include roofers, plasterers, painters, organ construction, plumbers, heating and cooling professionals, landscapers, architects, construction workers, sign makers, carpet layers, and more. A bit over three million dollars passes through this part of town as part of our budget annually. It provides a voice for the neighborhood. So much so that studies show that when a Catholic parish closes in a struggling neighborhood, the neighborhood goes into a steep and accelerated decline because a Catholic parish is so connected to other parishes, the diocese, and people outside of the immediate neighborhood it kept the neighborhood alive. The parish also provides spaces for the community to rent for everything from wedding receptions to city meetings.
AND ON TOP OF ALL THAT: providing sacramental healing, forgiveness of sins, adoption into the family of God, the reception of the Eucharist, receiving on the Holy Spirit, and uniting in matrimony. All that in just a couple of acres.
So beware sharks!