opinions needed for festival plans

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-22-1999
opinions needed for festival plans
Fri, 02-13-2004 - 10:03am
I was just wondering your thoughts on this. I have my opinion, but am open to the fact that maybe I am just wrong and should be looking at this in a different way.

First, some background. Our parish is broke financially. It is also very small (maybe 250 families). Every year they hold a parish barbecue. They used to have games and stuff but they kind of fell apart a few years ago. Well, they only make enough money to pay for the church candles for the year and to put on the next barbecue. So this year they want to revive it and make it much better. I agree totally. And even though we will be leaving the area before the festival I have been trying to work with them as much as possible by doing a lot of research and minute taking at the meetings, etc. Basically, things I can do now.

Okay, on to where I need your opinions. Our dioceses for insurance purposes no longer allows alchohol to be sold on parish grounds. Some people are in an absolute uproar over this and now want to move the festival off of church grounds to a local park so they can sell beer. They are also using the reason that there is shade there and none in the church parking lot. We are in South Texas and the festival will be in July. Oh and their other reason is so that people from the entire community will come to the park, but they won't come to the parking lot because its Catholic grounds. I don't get it but that is what they say. Even though most who come to the parish barbecue yearly aren't members of our church.

My opinion is that they are putting the sale of beer and the profit they *may* make from it (we don't know how much because we haven't sold beer at the barbecue in as many years as I 've been going to it and that's around 7yrs.) ahead of being proud to be Catholic and host this event for the community. I also think it is one more step in making our church anonymous in the community by taking away from our church home.

What is wrong with actually wanting to have a parish festival AT the parish???? Am I making sense to anyone else or is it only in my mind? Not many people are with me on this one, but maybe I am not being clear in my point? Or maybe I am just totally off base. But I think I have reached the decision that at our next planning meeting if it is decided to be held off parish grounds then I am done volunteering my time for it. I don't think I can be a part of a group who is more intent on making the almighty dollar than opening our church home to the community.

What are your two cents. Please offer them, I am interested in your opinions.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 02-13-2004 - 12:52pm
Well, if part of the purpose is to raise money for the church, I agree that you'll stand a better chance of raising more money by holding it off church grounds if that's what it takes to sell alcholol. I live in a fairly large city with a lot of Catholic churches, and I can tell you that the one that is held in a park is HUGE. It draws people from all faiths from all over the city and raises tons of money for the church. It's really quite *the* event. It's actually gotten so big that it wouldn't even be possible to hold it on church grounds -- they're almost at the point of needing a bigger park -- but my point is that they never would have had the room for such growth on church grounds. OTOH, my parish holds a festival on church grounds that has never really taken off. And it's a fairly wealthy parish with lots of families, so you can't write it off to lack of funds, lack of people, etc. (We can sell alcholol on church grounds, BTW, so that's not a factor.

Personally, I don't see the problem. If the church needs money, I don't see the problem with trying to do what is needed to raise it as long as it isn't immoral, and, as far as I know, the Church doesn't have a problem with alcohol in moderation. You can still use signage, advertising, etc., to make it clear who's hosting the event. I know I would be much more likely to go to an event that sold alcohol...not because I drink that much, but because I would think that an event with alcohol would be more likely to attract people my age.

As far as focusing too much on the money...churches need money to operate. Like it or not, it's a fact. And since we Catholics aren't known for tithing, our churches have to get it other ways. I don't disagree that churches can raise money for frivolous things, but it sounds like your church needs money, period. My thought is that the money used wouldn't likely go for frivolity or luxury.

Edited to add: I honestly don't share your views here. With that said, if, after soul/conscience searching and getting opinions from others on this board and others you trust, you still feel you're right, then you have to follow your conscience. Good luck!

Edited 2/13/2004 12:56:34 PM ET by pjp2

Edited 2/13/2004 12:57:01 PM ET by pjp2

Avatar for ruthv
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 02-13-2004 - 4:49pm
Not so much an opinion, but wanted to say that our parish has always had their festivals/fairs on church grounds. We are a fairly large parish of 1800 families but the space is not that huge. The diocese doesn't restrict as far as alcohol and we do serve it, though the regular city permits are required for it. I'm not usually part of the planning for the festivals. I'm involved in tons of other parish related things and the festival planning gets to be so.......chaotic - for lack of a better word that I stay far from it ;-). I'm not sure if alcohol will make or break a festival, but I guess it's not terribly bad if there's a chance it might help with the success of the event.