A Priest Tells the Simple Truth About What Being a “Parishioner” Really Means

Dennis Jarvis, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Some might differentiate between a “parishioner in good standing” or not. I do not ascribe to such a notion.

Parishioners must share in the responsibilities that are part and parcel of belonging to a parish. Why? Because the nature of a parish is that of a family and not a business. A parish is not a business that offers holy stuff.

Some parishioners, by virtue of infirmity or advanced age, might well be parishioners in the fullest sense of the word even though their physical limitations prevent their fully living the life of the parish. From these individuals, their prayer is so very important. It is not a second class offering, but their way of connecting to the life and mission of the parish. Hence, not all of the following applies to them.

Here’s what it means to be a parishioner:

1) Mass attendance on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation

Catholic Mass attendance is the center of the Catholic life. By Mass attendance, I do not merely mean being present in a building where Mass is happening, but being engaged in thought, word, and action in the worship Of God. When a Catholic willfully exempts themselves from the Mass, they gut the very means of growing in faith.

The Church considers this so important that it mandates that all Catholics go to Mass on Sundays (Saturday night is fine as well) and considers it mortally sinful when one chooses to not go to Mass.

2) Support of the parish and its ministries

Support is twofold. First there is the financial support of the parish. Support comes predominantly through the thanksgiving sacrifice. This is what the collection is properly called. The collection is not a cash register where we pay for services rendered, but a place where we make part of our thanksgiving sacrifice to God.

This is why I do not look at giving records. The tithe is between you and God and it is to God that you will be responsible. The tithe is your giving thanks to God for the blessings He has given you. The tithe is to be used, according to Scripture, for the mission of the Church and care of the poor. I will talk about the tithe once a year as I do not want to use time set aside for the worship of God to talk about money.

Money is only part of the equation. We also contribute by giving of our time and energy to help execute the responsibilities Parishes depend on volunteers for many things. I know everyone is busy. It is fact of life for most people. That said, as the old saying goes, “Many hands make for light work.”

Whether it being in teaching, youth, Mass, shut-ins, school, and various other aspects of parish life, giving of some of your time helps to build up the parish and continue its mission.

3) Participating in the Mission of the Church

The Mission of the Church is geared towards its growth. Parents do this in the raising of their children to be faithful followers of Christ. We do this by evangelizing the fallen away and the unchurched. We do this by being a faithful beacon in the community around us. This is why prayer, Mass attendance, educating ourselves on what constitutes the faith, and teaching our youth to correctly prioritize life are so important. The Church is not a museum for the 99 sheep who don’t stray, but is geared to the 1 who does.

I will not change the teachings of the Church. That would be irresponsible. The goal of any parish to ‘go make disciples of the nations’ and to ‘teach all that Jesus taught us.’. This is the commission of the Jesus Christ at the end of the Gospel of Matthew. This is dominant message in my preaching and teaching.

My Duty as a Pastor

Having said what is the duty of being a parishioner, let me now say how I see my duty as pastor. First and foremost I understand my role as a pastor of souls. I am called ‘father’ for a reason. I am to look to the good and care of those placed under my pastoral care.

As parishioners, you belong to God first, you are members of His flock. You are not my subjects, but the portion of God’s family assigned to my care. I have the responsibility of looking to the good of every parishioner even when they are not looking to their own good. As I see myself as father of the parish, I do not see myself as predominantly a CEO, CFO, storekeeper, or absentee landlord. My goal is to incorporate all the good traits of a good dad in how I guide the parish.

Furthermore, I am bound to teach what the Church teaches in the way the church wants. I am ‘by the book’ in many ways in that I will follow my duties as is prescribed by such documents as Canon Law, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the Catechism, and the Scriptures. I believe that if I do not respect the authority placed over me that I have no right to expect anyone to respect the authority I have as a pastor. If I make changes, it will be to bring us in line with the teachings of the Church. Truth is to be applied with charity. My goal as pastor will be to fix what can be fixed, grow what can be grown, and protect my flock whatever would prey on them.

I believe that parishes are not merely meant to survive, but to thrive. This takes our cooperation with Christ. This takes the grace of the sacraments.

Originally posted on Facebook

[See also: The Worst Thing About Parish Closures Isn’t Lost History, It’s Something Much Worse]

[See also: Why I Left My Parish: A Cautionary Tale]



Fr. Bill Peckman

Fr. Bill Peckman is the pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Boonville, MO and St. Joseph Parish in Fayette, MO.


  1. Very nice post and right to the point. I don’t know if this is actually the best place to ask but do you people have any thoughts on where to get some professional writers? Thx :)

  2. Hey there! This is my first comment on this site so I simply wanted to say a fast hello and tell you I really enjoy reading your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs which cover real estate prices? I’m also particularly fascinated by that! Thanks!

  3. I’m impressed, I have to say. Really not often do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you will have hit the nail on the head. Your thought is outstanding; the issue is one thing that not sufficient individuals are talking intelligently about. I am very comfortable that I stumbled across this in my seek for something referring to this.

  4. Our LGV (Large Goods Vehicle) HGV training is based in East London, and our LGV/ HGV courses are taught by qualified DVSA LGV & HGV trainers. LGV was formerly known as HGV, where it used to be referred to as HGV Class 2 (now called LGV Category C) and HGV class 1 (Now called LGV Category C+E).

  5. Thank you for this excellent article! I really liked learning about.I will make certain to take note of the site and will come back from now on. I would love to suggest that you continue the great posts, maybe talk about movies to watch too, have a good day!

  6. I’ve been exploring for a bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts on this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this website. Reading this information So i’m happy to convey that I have an incredibly good uncanny feeling I discovered just what I needed. I most certainly will make certain to do not forget this site and give it a look regularly.

  7. Thanks a bunch for your great article! I genuinely appreciated reading it.I will ensure that I take note of this page and will come back later on. I would like to encourage that you keep going with the great posts, even write about forwarding agent too, have a good evening!

  8. Thanks for another informative site. Where else could I get that type of info written in such an ideal way? I’ve a project that I am just now working on, and I have been on the look out for such information.

  9. Thank you, I have just been looking for info approximately this topic for a long time and yours is the greatest I have found out so far. However, what concerning the conclusion? Are you sure concerning the supply?

  10. I’m really interested to find out what site platform you have been utilizing? I am experiencing some minor protection difficulties with our latest site regarding teeth whitening cost and I would like to find a thing a lot more risk-free. Are there any strategies?

  11. hello!,I really like your writing so so much! share we keep up a correspondence more about your post on AOL? I require a specialist on this space to resolve my problem. May be that’s you! Having a look ahead to see you. |

  12. Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your weblog? My website is in the exact same area of interest as yours and my visitors would definitely benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Thank you!|

  13. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Many thanks!|

  14. I was suggested this website by way of my cousin. I am no longer certain whether this publish is written via him as no one else understand such particular about my trouble. You’re amazing! Thank you!|

  15. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy that I came across this during my search for something relating to this.|

  16. Hello! I’ve been following your blog for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Humble Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic job!|

  17. Having read this I believed it was really enlightening. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this content together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!|

  18. hello!,I really like your writing so much! percentage we communicate more approximately your post on AOL? I need a specialist in this house to resolve my problem. Maybe that’s you! Looking ahead to see you. |

  19. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is great blog. A fantastic read. I’ll certainly be back.|

  20. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it, you can be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and may come back later on. I want to encourage you to definitely continue your great posts, have a nice holiday weekend!|

  21. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your website. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Fantastic work!|

  22. May I simply say what a comfort to uncover a person that genuinely understands what they are talking about online. You actually understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people really need to read this and understand this side of the story. It’s surprising you aren’t more popular because you most certainly possess the gift.|

  23. First of all I would like to say awesome blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I’ve had trouble clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Cheers!|

  24. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the web the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider worries that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks|

  25. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m inspired! Extremely useful info specially the last section :) I deal with such information much. I was looking for this particular information for a very lengthy time. Thank you and good luck.

  26. Have you ever considered creating an e-book or guest authoring on other websites?
    I have a blog based on the same information you discuss and would really like to have you share
    some stories/information. I know my viewers would appreciate
    your work. If you are even remotely interested,
    feel free to send me an e-mail.

  27. Awesome website you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any discussion boards that
    cover the same topics discussed in this article?
    I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get suggestions from other knowledgeable people that share the
    same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let
    me know. Bless you!

  28. Greetings I am so delighted I found your website, I really found you by accident, while I was browsing on Digg for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say many thanks for a remarkable post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the minute but I have saved it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the fantastic jo.|

  29. You really make it appear really easy along with
    your presentation but I in finding this matter to be
    actually something which I believe I might by no means understand.
    It kind of feels too complex and extremely wide for me.
    I’m having a look forward on your subsequent publish, I will attempt to get the hold of

  30. You actually make it seem really easy together with your presentation however I in finding this matter to be actually one thing that I think I would by no means understand. It seems too complicated and very vast for me. I am looking forward in your subsequent post, I will attempt to get the cling of it!|

  31. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who was conducting a little homework on this. And he in fact bought me lunch simply because I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this subject here on your site.|

  32. Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?

    A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would really
    make my blog shine. Please let me know where you got your design. Bless you

  33. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.|

  34. Heya outstanding website! Does running a blog similar to this take a great deal of work? I’ve absolutely no understanding of computer programming but I was hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyways, should you have any suggestions or techniques for new blog owners please share. I know this is off subject however I just wanted to ask. Kudos!|

  35. You’re so awesome! I do not suppose I have read anything like that before. So great to discover somebody with unique thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!|

  36. of course like your web site however you need to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very troublesome to tell the reality then again I’ll definitely come again again.|

  37. I was wondering if you ever considered changing the page layout of your website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?|

  38. Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you happen to be a great author.I will always bookmark your blog and will eventually come back later in life. I want to encourage you to continue your great writing, have a nice morning!|

  39. Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to generate a very good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never manage to get anything done.|

  40. Thank you for another informative website. Where else could I am getting that kind of information written in such an ideal approach? I have a challenge that I am simply now operating on, and I have been on the look out for such info.|

  41. I’m curious to find out what blog system you are utilizing? I’m having some small security issues with my latest blog and I would like to find something more risk-free. Do you have any suggestions?|

  42. After going over a number of the blog articles on your site, I truly like your way of writing a blog. I bookmarked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my web site too and let me know how you feel.|

  43. Hello, Neat post. There is a problem together with your website in internet explorer, could test this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace leader and a large element of other people will miss your magnificent writing due to this problem.|

  44. Hello There. I found your blog the use of msn. This is a really neatly written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to read extra of your helpful information. Thank you for the post. I will certainly comeback.|

  45. Hi there! This blog post couldn’t be written much better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I am going to forward this information to him. Pretty sure he’ll have a good read. I appreciate you for sharing!|

  46. Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a blog website? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept

Leave a Reply