I sometimes wonder if the Church is in the wrong place most of the time. Churches dot the geography of cities and towns as gathering places for believers who are already part of the flock. It's not that those outside the flock don't slip in the front doors and join us for word and sacrament, but it strikes me that the very place where believers gather is the last place many outside the fold are likely to ever step foot.

Some of my most interesting and rewarding pastoral moments have been far from the shadows of a church buildings, in places and conversations where someone eventually asks me what I do for work and I tell them I'm the pastor of a Catholic church.

Some of my most rewarding moments with parishioners have occurred not at the altar or in the confessional, but on the street, in a grocery store, pumping gas, sitting in a restaurant or at a bar, picking up a cup of coffee or waiting in line at the post office.

I wonder what it would be like if, for a year, all Catholic priests were forbidden to step a foot inside their office for a year but were instructed to simply walk the streets of their parishes...

Might be as helpful and healthy for the priest as it would be for the people he encountered.

What do you think?

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