Christ is Risen!
I’m heavily involved with a Byzantine mission in Knoxville, TN that has been through quite a bit over the years. We have a couple core families, but we’re struggling to grow. Founding members are beginning to become quite discouraged. There was a time when this parish truly thrived. I was hoping y’all could help me brainstorm some ways to help this parish move back in that direction.
Here are some of the issues we’re facing and some proposed solutions:
historically our media presence has been sorely lacking, and our internal communication hasn’t been great either. We’ve begun to address this in a couple ways: a) building a solid website, b) setting up a parish email address, and c) transferring management of the parish Facebook page to someone with a bit more time and experience in using social media for evangelization.
2) Access to the Mysteries:
Let me preface this by saying that we have a fantastic priest. He is a reverent celebrant of the Liturgy, a fantastic homilist, and a good counselor. Through no fault of his own, he is in a position where he is unable to be as present and involved with our parish as he once was. I will not disclose the details of his personal situation here. Suffice to say that his frequent absences are frustrating, but very understandable.
Unfortunately what this means for our community is that we really never know when we will have access to the Mysteries, specifically Confession and the Holy Eucharist. There is a growing fear that unless we find some way to secure consistent access to the Sacraments the church may not be able to hold on much longer.
a) find some way to lessen Father’s load so he can be more present with the Mission. Apparently this has been tried and for various reasons is not a feasible solution. Again, I’ll not divulge details touching his personal situation.
b) one of the men in the parish pursues Holy Orders, possibly either becoming a deacon or an assisting priest.
The most obvious candidate would be our subdeacon. He is willing, but lacks the requisite education requirements. It has been suggested that I consider discerning Holy Orders, given my background in ministry before reverting to the Catholic Church. There are all kinds of issues with that, most notably that I am canonically resident in the Latin Rite which opens up a can of worms I am not eager to step in.
c) Request a supply priest from the Eparchy scheduled to celebrate Liturgy and hear confessions at least once a month, thus giving Father a bit of breathing room. We’re not sure if this is even a thing we can do, but we’re exploring it.
Any suggestions (and best of all, your prayers) are most welcome.