Every parish deserves and needs a parish mission once in a while. The renewal, enthusiasm and shot in the arm from this type of event invigorates even the best of communities.
We need to get away from the normal activity to renovate our spiritual, pastoral and human lives. There is no way that over 60 million Catholics could get away to a retreat house during a 3-to-5-year time frame. The parish mission is what renews their faith, commitment and attachment to the Body of Christ present in their faith community.
Let’s face it. All machines, whether they be cars, television sets or computers, sooner or later need a checkup or to see a mechanic for a tune up. People are no different. To get someone out of a rut or comfort zone, you need to program something special and out of the ordinary.
What makes a parish mission successful, unlike all other spiritual exercises, is its extraordinary preaching that is different from the best of Sunday homilies or other instructional courses. By its very nature, a parish mission has in its DNA a conversion mode. Redemptorists define it this way: “The mission is a preaching event. God’s Word is proclaimed through the Bible and Catholic doctrine. It is also proclaimed through the life, learning and personal experience of the preacher.”
Many parishes like to have their parish mission during Lent or Advent. Some parishes will use a September mission to kick off their fall programming. Others prefer January as a way of getting the new year underway. The feast day of the parish’s patron might be a good, as is a special anniversary year for the parish such as its 25th, 50th, 100th. In short, any time of the year is time for a mission.
- excerpt from "Parish Mission: Why every parish should have one once in a while, "by Father Donnell Kirchner, CSsR