The Boutique Parish

The Boutique Parish

John Schultz is on to something in his discussion of the “Boutique Parish,” especially the point about St. Astrodome that the same small group always does everything and that the closest most people get to knowing each other is memorizing vanity plates in the parking lot.

That’s one of the reasons why some of the guys at my parish and I came up with the idea of the Scotch and Cigar Society. Most guys, especially family guys in their 30s and 40s, are not going to come to a special Mass or to hear a theological talk. It’s just not going to happen. Meanwhile, those of us who do enjoy that sort of thing and spend some time at the parish, often find ourselves sitting on the rectory porch with the pastor after some event or meeting, smoking a stogie and having a drink, and those are special times.

So why not make that kind of socializing available to everyone? No hard sells, no big evangelization, just an opportunity to gather for conversation that almost always includes discussions of current events, the Church, the parish, and so on. Give people a place to be comfortable discussing such things and perhaps they’ll be more comfortable being a part of the parish. At least that’s the idea.

  • Back in my Army days, we used to have a monthly get together called a Hail and Farewell.  THis is exactly what it is called, an event where you welcomed the new people, and said an official goodbye to those departing.

    THe invitation would always read:

    A NOTE ON SOCIALIZING:  a little active recruiting (rather than the all too common passive “bulletin notice”) by KofC Council’s and Women’s Clubs can transform those “organizations” into vibrant social organizations, where people get to know each other, and serve their parishes. 

    We have 17 new members for our KofC council (a 17% increase), all in there 30’s and 40’s.  The old guys love the fresh blood, and are more than willing “to hand over the reins”.


    ” There’s a small group of folks who seem to be involved in everything. Everyone else may or may not be involved in parish ministry or other activities.”….

    Have you ever noticed that “at times” these same small groups “can tend to appear” “exlusionary”.  I’ve noticed “at times” that these groups can “give the perception of” (not always, so put your knives away), acting like a bunch of self proclaimed martyrs, who think they know better, and their views and opinions are more important…

    This cannot help at St. Astrodome of our Lady of Megalopolis parish either!  Especially in attempting to build a more welcoming environment.

    sigh… does anyone remember donuts and coffee after Mass?  with the Pastor going from table to table… meeting all the people he doesn’t know..  welcoming them…..


    (after the big Jesuit discussion on the Weigel page, I felt all the disclaimers necessary)