“Parishes need to do more in order to attract and keep today’s people.” The answer is always more programs and more ministries. There is some truth to this and so many parishes have a full week’s worth of activities and special events to make sure that people are involved.
The danger of this is that many people mean that the priest and (usually his staff of about 3 full time paid people) are supposed to put all these things on. Parishes become like your club membership, one “joins” in order to enjoy all the benefits offered. But no matter how talented the staff may be, they can only do so much.
If you agree that your parish should do “more,” maybe you are being called to do something about it. It takes two of course. In many cases a pastor must at least allow it to take place especially if you need space and a bulletin announcement. But supposing that is there, if you see a hole, offer to fill it.
I’ve been heartened by the number of lay run ministries in our area some associated directly with a parish and some not. Things that with our staffs and budgets we could never have enough to do. West Side Catholic Couples incorporates a number of people from 5 parishes and they just put on a retreat for 600 people. The ITE project is going strong. (See more HERE.) Theology on Tap Akron and Theology on the Rocks, The Young Adult Book Group, Bible Studies, Social Justice, and a number of other groups thrive in the Akron area with different levels of lay leadership and connections to parishes.
The fact is, we are a mission people sent out from Mass to do Catholic, Christian stuff. The rising movement of lay ministry is way to see to it that our parishes are as lively as they can be while not depending on “someone official” to bear the whole of the burden.