Pastoral leaders used to envision themselves speaking to families, and that was more often than not correct. Parishes counted the numbers of families who belonged, and donations and participation happened through families. Take a look today in any parish, at any liturgy. The model people group is no longer the nuclear family. The people groups are highly diverse as well: Parishes have an extraordinary and increasing pluricultural reality. What is perhaps most striking is the number of persons present who seem to be one parent and a child or two; individual persons; or other combinations of people. Whereas once one might have seen a vast majority of attenders in full nuclear family groups—mother, father, children—today one instead sees a remarkable mix. Today there is an enormous variety of people groups. They are cross-cutting tribes, intersecting, drawing people in. But they can also be divisive, pulling people apart, making it hard to connect in community. Preachers and all involved in worship leadership need to be careful to see the complexity and variety of people groups with which one is in dialogue in the sacramental moment, in the worship situation, knowing that few of us and—the truth be told, none of us—are every really alone when we approach the altar. Others in our people group are with us, and we with them. People groups give us context and insights as we approach our future. © 2010, Bryan Froehle.
Authors Bryan FroehleRestricted