National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Intentional Eucharistic Communities

 |  NCR Today

One reality of Catholic life that surfaced time and again during my recent travels is the fact that it is constantly subject to immediate and arbitrary forces over which people in the pews have little or no control. People who have invested years in developing parish programs, trained ministers who have devoted decades of their professional lives to building ministries, parishioners who have supported a parish and grown deeply attached to a parochial community are increasingly aware that everything is one new pastor or new bishop away from changing or ending.

All of it – and that can even mean the traditional Latin Mass chapel or the conservative movement – exists at the pleasure of either the bishop or the pastor and the new guy, in either case, can upend everything without notice or concern for what’s gone before.

Sometimes’ it’s a wonder anyone stays. Some don’t.

Some find refuge and continuity in what are being called Intentional Eucharistic Communities.

What are they?

It’s tough to come up with a comprehensive definition, but I’ll be trying to give a clearer picture of who and what they are and the tensions involved in sustaining them in coverage that will appear in an upcoming issue of NCR.

Take a look inside our August 29 edition. Watch now.
screen-shot_FB-video-promo-8-29.jpg

I spent some time at a recent gathering of these communities in a 4H Center in Chevy Chase, MD., which gives some indication that they exist, at least at the moment, in territory that is somewhat off the institutional territory.

More than 230 people representing at least 42 such communities from 17 states attended the weekend of talks and discussions over just what they are and where they’re headed.

The communities come in a wide variety of shapes and forms and in widely varying degrees of attachment to the larger institutional church. Some were born decades ago out of small communities within parishes. Some resulted from what I’ll dub the “had it” syndrome – they finally “had it” when the last priest change fairly destroyed all the characteristics of a beloved community. Some formed more recently around concerns for social justice or a more inclusive liturgy or in reaction to larger changes within a diocese.

This brand of church may not be to everyone’s liking, but I found that the communities and the thinkers and commentators they brought in for the weekend are raising fascinating questions that will certainly be part of the Catholic conversation in the years ahead.

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

August 29-September 11, 2014

08-29-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.