Chances are that you parish does a lot of things. There is prayer of course. Probably a bunch of education for people of various ages. There might be missions or talks. Maybe some sports teams run out of your parish. There are dances, festivals, and concerts. There might be community events, picnics, and various social groups. Hopefully there is a bit of social justice ministry taking place, clothing, feeding, advocating, and the sort.
But what is at the heart of it all? Why does the parish exist? From what does all this activity flow?
It is not an idea. Not even a really, really good idea or theological construct such as how you will be saved or Who might do it or even if you can do it on your own.
It is not a thing. Not even the Bible which many stand on alone. It is not a building, or a territory or money.
It is not a human person. A Catholic parish is not centered on the personality of a priest or any human person.
All of the above things may be very, very important, but they are not the source and center of the Catholic parish life. What is at the center is a Person. A Divine Person. God. And not in the way that He is generally available to all at all times in a sunrise, in the flight of a bird, or in the firmament. And not in the way we should see Jesus in every human face. And not just in the way in which any of us could close our eyes and call on Him and He is there.
Rather, for the Catholic, his parish is centered on Christ is wholly and substantially present as he was 2,000 years ago. This Divine Person is present in a specific locale and is immediately present to the senses. And not just to be seen, but touched and brought into our very bodies. It is an intimate relationship with this Divine Person that is the heart and engine of a parish. It gives life to and flushes out everything else from what Scripture means to what the parish dance will look like.
If you want a healthy parish, it begins there.