In this second special episode on the American parish today, we talk with three writers about their concrete proposals for creating more vibrant, hope-filled parish communities. 

Their suggestions are simple: let more people, including women, preach; reach out to LGBTQ Catholics, and learn from their journeys; and finally, help parents with restless young children in tow make it through Mass by shortening homilies—no more than five minutes please

Plus, the Commonweal staff share thoughts about what our readers most want in parishes: robust social justice ministries, prayerful liturgies, and a sense of home.

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“A cleric who looks down on the laity cannot be a good preacher, because contempt is the opposite of love.”—Natalia M. Imperatori-Lee

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