The value of a small parish

As I said in my big vacation post, Wendy and I went to a small parish for our Chirstmas Mass in Oroville. Oroville is a pretty small town (20K people?) to begin with but its Catholic community is even smaller. The church only fix about 100 people. It had an old California Mission feel to it, but that’s not what was noteworthy to write about.

What was noteworthy was that despite the REALLY crummy music by three elderly ladies with guitars you could feel how close-nit the community was. Everyone knew everyone’s name and everyone knew we were visitors. They were welcoming and you could tell they were serious about their faith and understood the importance of community. I don’t get that feel at the VERY large parishes we have down here in the Sacramento area. All of these 3000 family parishes that seat 800+ people in the sanctuary and have 6 masses every Sunday (there were only two in Oroville) really create an impersonal feel. Unless one makes a conscious effort to be involved, one can go to Mass every Sunday (or not) and no one will know the difference. That wasn’t the case in Oroville.

Seeing that close-nit community made me yearn for a smaller parish. Sadly, until the Priest shortage is rectified, there is no reason to hope that we can add the 4-8 additional parishes in the Roseville/Rocklin/Granite Bay region necessary to get the more manageable community sizes that would facility actual community.

Such a shame.

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