Cultivation Takes Time

Sometimes cultivation looks easy, sometimes it looks more difficult. The Gospel this week leaves us with the image of the gardener who wants one more year to see if he can get the fig tree growing. It’s not a story about a fig tree. It’s truly a story about evangelization. The gardener knows that cultivation takes time and effort as does evangelization.

We didn’t lose a lot of Catholics from our pews overnight. They slowly drifted away. Why? I imagine there are lots of reasons: complacency on the part of Church leaders, faulty catechesis, misinterpretation of Vatican II, a more permissive attitude in society, relativism, and the like. I’m sure there are many more reasons that I’m missing and truly I am not laying the blame at anyone’s feet but until we all realize the scope of the problem we will continue to float downstream and it will not look pretty at the end.

We, the priests and staff, are trying many things and doing many things to see what works and what doesn’t. We are writing a pastoral plan to help guide us and we are working hard to change things, but it will not get done unless we have your help. We are only one year and 8 months into this Collaborative and we have had many successes (Pints with the Pastors, Family BBQ and Alpha to name but a few) and some bumps along the road as well (yes, I too am worried about finances and wish the collections were larger), but I do believe we are tracking in the right direction.

Some might disagree and they are welcome to their opinion but rather than grumble, let’s take up our cultivating tools and put our backs to the work together. There is much to do and we need to keep marching forward. Together we can do many things and accomplish much. Divided we will accomplish very little and perhaps turn people from God altogether. I know nobody wants that, so let’s continue to roll up our sleeves and keep working!


About Fr. Chip Hines

Fr. George "Chip" Hines is the Pastor of the Matthew 13 Catholic Collaborative, including Blessed Sacrament Parish and St. Mary Parish in Walpole, Mass. Ordained in 2004, he has been a pastor in the towns of Wrentham and Medford and a parochial vicar in Malden prior to his present assignment. Fr. Chip is also the host of CatholicTV's Searchlight, a show about movies and cinema.