Fr. James Grant: Putting the Parish Mission into Action

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By Fr. James Grant, Crisis Magazine, Nov. 8, 2021

A former Anglican, Fr. James Grant was received into the Catholic Church and ordained as a Catholic Priest in September 2012. He is the first Chaplain appointed to an A league soccer club in Australia at the largest Australian club, Melbourne Victory. …


Overwhelmingly, the most common experience of Catholic priests, parishes, and dioceses is one of overwork, hackneyed originality, and shortness of funds. In truth, we are in survival mode; few parishes or dioceses have any growth or effective plans for the future years.

Most Catholics no longer know what mission is. They hopelessly confuse it with social justice. A downhill spiral is evident in the practice of merging parishes, stretching priests as pastors to a number of communities, and importing overseas priests to plug gaps. None of this has halted the general decline. Indeed, frustrations at not having sufficient parish pastoral care is increasing, along with often hastening decline in the parishes that no longer have a resident priest living in the nearby presbytery.

A more adverse message to parish culture, history, and future hope is hard to imagine than deeming a center unworthy of having its own priest. This is not intentionally the message of the diocese to such parishes, but the “subconscious,” on the ground feeling is usually one of abandonment and inevitable decline. …

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