Why Jesus Got Fired from His Catechist Position

The following is an email that was recently sent out to a certain Parish staff, alerting them of the latest team update:

To Whom It May Concern:

In agreement with the clearly delineated Diocesan norms for termination of employment, below are just a handful of the reasons we were forced to fire Jesus of Nazareth from our Parish Staff here at Our Lady of the Emptying Pews:

  • He was never in the office.
  • He was constantly leaving work to “go and pray.”
  • He never turned in a single bulletin announcement.
  • He invited all the “wrong kinds of people” into the Parish community.
  • He turned over tables at the annual Parish ministry fair.
  • He encouraged people without master’s degrees or PhDs to share, preach, and teach.
  • He refused to utilize clip art.
  • He had His “team” set up for His own farewell dinner.
  • He gave the church keys to a fisherman instead of returning them to the front desk.
  • He formed catechists and executed a parish plan without first forming a committee to investigate a strategy that might include a committee.
  • And finally — in a display that demonstrated complete lack of pastoral discretion — He was unwilling to use His special “gifts” to multiply fish and tartar sauce and, thus, prevent the K of C from looking quite foolish at the Lenten Fish Fry.

As anyone can clearly see, Jesus of Nazareth was unwilling to abide by time-honored rules and expectations as set forth by people at the parish who are long-since dead, yet whose memories we celebrate with every rule (“sacred cow”) we choose to heed (feed rather than slaughter).

Joylessly yours in Christ,

Members of the Perish(ing) Staff’


Structure is the Means, not the End

Whether you find the above letter insightful or idiotic, jovial or juvenile, the truth is that modern ministry can often taken on an institutionalized form that Christ never intended.

St. Peter statue in St. Peter's Square, RomeThat’s not to say that Christ did not like structure. He did, to be sure.

He didn’t just choose the twelve apostles to mirror and relive Israel’s existence in perfect fidelity. In choosing and empowering the twelve and the seventy-two, Jesus created an infrastructure that offered His truth and healing presence to the masses and in time, through apostolic succession at all Masses.

That being said, our Catholic faith is inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit. Our Church is designed to be dynamic and organic — living and active — not predictable and stale.

Getting into the Spirit of Evangelization

Is there really a “new” spirit of evangelization in our ministries or just the same tired approach with a new name and facelift? Are our meetings more about prayer or agendas? Are our classes interactive or strictly lecture-based? Do souls leave intellectually full but spiritually empty? Do we spend more time talking “about” Jesus than actually talking (and listening) to Him?

The Church offers us an indispensible gift in her apostolic structure and visible head in Rome. Our Church also invites us to retreat into the desert (prompted by the Spirit as Jesus, Himself, was) and allow the Father to direct our next steps.

If your ministries have gotten stale or predictable or institutional…love your parish enough to shut down ministries or programs for a time.

Reflect.

Discern.

Try new things, and then reconvene to process what the Lord is doing and how the Spirit is moving.

Jesus will still “make all things new” (Revelation 21:5)…if we let Him!

Mark Hart

Mark Hart serves as Executive Vice President for Life Teen International. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a twenty-year veteran of youth ministry, Mark is a best-selling and award-winning author (or co-author) of over a dozen books and one of the most sought-after speakers serving in the Catholic Church, today. Mark hosts his own weekly satellite radio show, “Fired Up!”, for The Catholic Channel, Sirius XM 129 and is a Research Fellow for the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. Additionally, his weekly audio podcast (Sunday, Sunday, Sunday) and HD video spots (Beyond Words) are helping youth groups, families and classrooms in over two dozen countries enter more deeply into the Sunday Mass readings. Mark’s humor and his passion for Scripture —as experienced in his DVD Bible Study Series, “T3” and “Encounter” — are helping hundreds of thousands of Catholics, young and old, begin to read and study the Bible in engaging and relevant ways. Mark and his wife, Melanie, and their children live in Phoenix, Arizona.

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  • Avila

    That is a great post. It reflects what is happening in our Diocese but very quietly, step by step. Suddenly I have heard words used, that to me are new to the Catholic Church, and in enough context to send me (internally) screaming to the hills. The limping back is not the easiest journey and I am still trying to get rid of the unnecessary baggage. The early exposure to the signs of what is coming, is helping me spiritually to travel to where God wants me to be and the answer (not the one I expected) to many prayers for our parish and diocese to be living, hungering and thirsting more for God.

  • kirby white

    Great insight. Thanks for the post.

  • Barbara Ann Baugh

    At first I laughed at this. Then I remembered when I was a member of a Parish that forced a Priest from the parish for acting in a similar manner particularly this one “He invited all the “wrong kinds of people” into the Parish community”.

  • renee-marie krug

    Again—We have the tools an attempt to quiet the distractions– go to the RC Catechism, Bible and Sacrements..Christ is the teacher the Holy Spirit is the animating force.. be quiet and listen…

  • Beverly Hagar-Schmerse

    People catechize others as they have been taught…But a new approach is needed. One in which the students can feel making up in their own mind. Or at least are able to make comments on the what has been presented. Then have them practice going out to do what they have been taught. And talk about that.To bring people to Church…they must feel like they own it. It needs to become a part of themselves. I love to put the kids in groups of four. Have them read the lesson as a table or as a choral reading. Then as a table have them discuss the questions. Then give them a “project” based on the lesson that they are to do. Giving them time to talk as a group about the lesson. To end the session we talk about the project and what they have learned. And then send them home with a small project based on that lesson. This seemed to be something they liked to do.