One thing that struck me at yesterday's Saturday morning mass was that it included awards for servers who were graduating from the server program and moving on to college. The mass was celebrated by the diocesan vocations director, who is in residence at the rectory and takes regular masses at the parish. He had a great deal to say about the parish server program -- from what I heard, I believe there are about 80 kids in it altogether, of whom about 40 were at the mass, and about a dozen were graduating.
I've read elsewhere that servers make up a pool of potential vocations. Our parish has two schools connected with it, and many of the servers are also students at the schools. The vocations director clearly had this in mind when addressing the servers, encouraging those graduating to continue involvement with the Church at the Newman Houses on their college campuses. This also brought me again to the recognition that Catholicism is normally a generational effort.
I've wondered, for instance, how Catholic parents can keep their children from going off the rails in current social condiitions. An answer I'd had for a while was to send them to a good Catholic school, as well as to set good examples at home and be sure the kids are instructed in the faith at home. But I'm realizing that to get the kids into a server program, especially if it's connected with the parish school, would be an additional help. But the only OCSP parish where this is remotely possible is Our Lady of the Atonement, although up until recently, the kids would need to have avoided Dcn Orr.
And this brings me to an additional problem: liturgy is only a small part of Catholicism, especially the parts you begin to learn about in Catholicism 102. But the routine explanation for Anglicanorum coetibus is almost entirely liturgical. Well, OK, let's grant that maybe some Anglicans (though not very many as things have shaken out) will feel more comfortable with becoming Catholic if they get a liturgy that mimics the BCP in some respects. But that's just the tip of the Catholic iceberg.
Where do these new Catholics go to get Catholicism 102? They're isolated in tiny communities, of which only a few have the resources to do much beyond clebrating DW mass in a basement chapel or storefront, whereas across town, there's probably a successful Catholic parish with maybe a school, a server program, licensed catechists, effective Bible study, frequent confessions with experienced confessors, weekday masses, and more. Yet the two dozen OCSP members seem to be told, at least tacitly, that they don't need to bother with this stuff, they'll get all they need at the storefront.
Now, let's say that one day I get to attend a quesstion and answer with Bp Lopes. I might pose a question to him based on this -- Bishop, of the several thousand OCSP members who are calling themselves Catholic, only a few hundred can avail themselves of resources in their communities that are routinely available to diocesan Catholics. What can be done to encourage them to go find these resources at parishes across town that provide them?
And more to the point, why shouldn't these new Catholics be registering at those parishes and getting with a serious program? Why are you doing this at all?