Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pain increasing in households as economy sinks; who has our backs now as life turns hard?

Tonight at his 5 p.m. Mass, Father Joe Pat Breen of St. Edward Catholic Church in Nashville spoke passionately about the pain felt in his congregation and in Music City from the decline in the economy.

Divorces, he said, have greatly increased the past four to five months, along with layoffs and the decline in the 401ks and other savings of parishioners. At Breen's direction, St. Edward earlier this year offered $100,000 in stimulus checks to the families of children in the church's K-8 school.

Yesterday, the decline in the fourth quarter Gross Domestic Product for the nation was revised downward from 3.8 to a shocking 6.2 percent.

That means things were a lot worse than we thought as 2008 ended. This year has started down the same path.

People are feeling a lot of anger, Breen said.

Yes, and they feel betrayed -- by everyone from politicians to Wall Street to banks to all the financial talking heads on TV.

But Father did not leave the distressing situation unresolved. He encouraged parishioners to look at the people next to them in the pews, and perhaps invite them to dinner after Mass, or bring them to their homes to have hamburgers.

Get to know one another, and help alleviate the anger by listening, sharing and supporting.

Yes, with our busy schedules, such a request would seem an annoyance and impossibility. Yet actually, all we have now is each other, and the faith we share.

Who has our backs?

We do, in the pew.

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