Since we have moved here to the Ozarks we have seen a dramatic shift in attendance not only our church but other faith churches as well. A movement away from "going to church". The older ones either die or move closer to their children away from here. Their children ages 30-50's do not go to church on any regular schedule if at all. Grand children are shuffled off to sports events, school activities or the ex- spouses. And our priests are from other countries and do not last long in the isolation and culture shock of the area. The elderly experienced patrons of the church never made any preparation for the next generation taking over after them. No one was groomed nor practiced in the church procedures/traditions. So when the old ones die, who is left to carry on with the church? Who changes the flowers, the linens, the books,the candles or the banners? Who sews the vestments and gets the mass ready? We have no head usher, no full time secretary and no cleaning service. We run only on all volunteers. Our new priests are not skilled to do anything but know theology. They can't clean, barley cook, can't fix anything. (Note: I was raised around Jesuit priests who could plant a garden, do the taxes, change a tire, play sports and shoot a gun all before breakfast and mass.)
We will be getting our next new priest at the end of June. He is the 3rd one in less than 6 months. We will try to help get him situated and taken care of, but in the end -the loneliness and lack of people and things to do is what sends them running away. We do have a handful of people keeping the candle lit and the church running. But it is very expensive to keep two buildings open with no income. I think if we installed some gas pumps out in the parking lot, we might fair better down the line. The photo of Mary is from the May crowing. There is one lady who has make these flower crowns for the last 20 years. She sees no reason why she needs to train someone else to do this. Her house is for sale and she is moving away to live with her adult children.