A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Spring Cleaning for Our Parish Church

Posted on: April 3, 2014

dusty TV

My love of dusting shines through…

This is my piano on a need-to-dust day. But it could just as easily be a piano in a parish church.

At my church, a number of parishioners noticed cobwebs and dust on a couple of tables in the sanctuary. We started thinking about all the things that appeal to us visually in our church—the crucifix, the statues of Mary and Joseph, the tabernacle, the table the votive candles sit on—and wondered when these were last dusted carefully.

And when the carpet was last vacuumed well.

And when the cupboard under the stairs was last opened. (And what’s in there, anyway?)

Does this sound familiar?

If our parish church is only a few years old, these questions may not strike a chord. But if it’s 10, 20, or maybe 100 years old, something may be hiding in plain sight. And I don’t mean the cupboard under the stairs. I’m talking about dust and accumulated clutter.

We clean our homes regularly. We take extra time to clean and air them out in the spring. To purge clothes, toys and household items we no longer need or use and find a new home for them if they’re in good shape. But do we take the same care in our parish church?

With the arrival of warmer weather, maybe now is the time to blow the cobwebs out (literally) and give the sanctuary and church hall a thorough cleaning. The kitchen, too, if it’s been a while. Even if we need to be fortified with a double double or a few Timbits to brave the dusty corners. We may find those missing shepherds’ costumes for the Christmas pageant, extra seasonal decorations, or previous editions of hymnals that another parish could use. We may even discover our church has a lot of unused vases or dishes that need replacing. And we might identify minor maintenance issues that need a handy parishioner’s touch, and possibly a surprising amount of storage space for things that matter, like altar server vestments, a parish library or an emergency food cupboard.

I pray that we would give our parish church—God’s house—the same kind of loving care we give our own homes.

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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