But on my way to Church this morning, it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, we are all looking at this thing wrong.
Maybe we should embrace it.
I mean, how many families due to sports, teens waking up late, split the Mass going -- two or three vehicles going to Mass, when there only needs to be one. How many of us live only a 20 minute walk from the parish, but still take our cars, so that we can then head out to sports or do food shopping.
Therefore I offer this open letter to the Archbishop and the Archdiocese.
If you have any thoughts or suggestions, I would love to hear from you on this.
Dear Archbishop Wuerl and the Environmental Outreach Committee:
Recently, you have taken quite a number of hits on the Lenten Carbon Fast published by the Archdiocese Environmental Outreach Committee. After some deliberation, I would like to join you in this effort and would like to make a number of recommendations of my own. These are but a few of the ones that have come to mind.
I hope that you find these useful and I look forward to their implementation, which will help us save the planet.
I look forward to hearing from you on this matter and if you need any further ideas, I will forward them to you.
Suggestion One: Encourage Catholics who are not planning on receiving Communion to stay at home and watch the Mass. Why use all of that gas, oil, etc. They can easily watch the Mass on the Howard University channel or EWTN. Even if 5% of all those who attend Mass do not receive Communion, that amounts to a fair number of vehicles off the road. And, it will increase the viewership of your taped Mass. Always a good thing.
Suggestion Two: Hear confessions via Skype or a web conferencing tool. We want to encourage people to come to confessions, esp. during The Light is ON for You campaign. Instead of having a person drive to his/her parish or to a parish at which they are not known (usually alone in the car), why not do it using the latest technology.
Equip a couple of priests with a laptop (with a camera and mic) - not that expensive and some of them may already have one. While waiting for the next person for confession, they can make themselves available. People can call in and if the priest is available, he can accept the call and make himself busy to those who may come to the church. Since we seem to encourage people to do face to face confessions, the only difference is that you are not physically present but the priest can see and hear you. Saves on gas, etc.
In fact, you don't even have to open up the Church for this. The priest can do this from his room or office. Saves on heating, lighting, and other maintenance. A real carbon footprint reduction if you ask me.
Suggestion Three. Cut down on the number of Masses offered each Sunday at least once a month. Parishes that offer four Masses, should offer three. Parishes that offer three should offer only two. So, it gets a little crowded. So it is not as convenient. People may go to another parish because it is at a more convenient time. Does it really matter, as long as they are going?
Suggestion Four. For this one, the Archbishop will have to give dispensation but heck, if we give a dispensation for eating meat when St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday in Lent, we can certainly do it for this. What is more important than saving the planet?
Once a month, starting this Lent, the every Parish should close their doors on Sunday and request that everyone watch the Mass either on EWTN or the Shut-in Mass.
Now, you will take a hit on the Sunday collection (unless you do electronic giving) but can you imagine the carbon footprint reduction that this would bring?
Can you imagine how this will bolt the Catholic Church to the front of the environmental movement?
I bet that you and the Archdiocese will be on the cover of every environmental magazine, invited to speak on every talk show, and lauded by the entire world. Heck, we may even see a Nobel Prize Nomination!