Over the past few months, we have been blessed with a good number of new parishioners. We welcome everyone who has desired to become one with us here at Saint Michael. For anyone interested in joining the parish, we ask that, if you are new to us, spend a few weeks celebrating Mass with us, share in the Word and Sacrament, read the bulletin and listen to the announcements to get a feel for the parish, then, when ready, contact the parish office for a registration packet. If you have catechetical age children, or will be seeking a sacrament, whether baptism, wedding, etc., contact the parish office to discuss the policies and procedures for each sacrament and program. It is important, that if you are making a change in parishes, or moving into the area, that you take the time to discover the parish which is the best fit for you. Also, a reminder that if you have graduated from college, or still live at home but are over the age of 25, you need to register as a member of the parish. Once either of these occurs, you cannot remain a “child” member of your household.
This is especially important when people of this age are looking to be married in the parish. One of the parties must be an active member of the parish (or in the rare case they have moved and are coming back for their wedding, must be active in the parish where they reside – with a letter of delegation from their pastor).
To be a godparent or confirmation sponsor, the same must occur. These are not the policies of Saint Michael Parish in Canfield, these are the policies of the Roman Catholic Church.
A lack of membership or participation does not mean someone cannot serve in either sponsorship role or be married in the Church – but it may delay the process while they correct the situation and recommit themselves to practicing their faith. The mantra is, “we never say “no”, but often must say, “not yet”, and when faced with that, they (the potential godparent or sponsor), say “NO!”. Sadly, they then set sail for the nearest parish that disregards the rules (which are not arbitrary hoops to jump through, but in place to promote a deeper understanding and practice of the faith). Often, the invitation to serve in these roles can be a moment of reconversion, inviting the person back into a renewed participation in their faith (but it takes time, and too often, the request is accompanied with “I need this signed NOW – the baptism is this Sunday, or the Confirmation is this Tuesday”.) We try our best to adhere to the laws of the Church and assist if possible. But in some instances, people are at least honest and say they have no desire to return to Church. This is perplexing, because in all seriousness, if someone isn’t attending Mass, or actively practicing their faith, I don’t know why they would say yes to being a godparent or sponsor or expect a Church wedding.
I invite everyone who knows of someone who has been away from the practice of our faith to spend some time over the summer encouraging them to pray, reflect, and consider reengaging, and possibly registering and coming to Mass on a more regular basis. This will not only alleviate the “I need a letter now” dilemma, but is in their best interest as we unite together to ultimately build up the Kingdom of God.