This is a popular parable that we have adapted to the “catholic” school system and what parishes are doing for evangelization
Upstream Downstream Parable
The story: One day a group of villagers was working in the fields by a river.
Suddenly someone noticed a baby floating downstream. A woman rushed out and
rescued the baby, brought it to shore and cared for it. During the next several
days, more babies were found floating downstream, and the villagers rescued
them as well. But before long there was a steady stream of babies floating
downstream. Soon, many in the village was involved in the many tasks of rescue
work: pulling these poor children out of the stream, ensuring they were properly
fed, clothed, and housed, and integrating them into the life of the village. While
only a few of the babies, now very numerous, could be saved, the villagers felt they were doing the best they could.
Before long, however, the village became exhausted with all this rescue work.
Some villagers suggested they go upstream to discover how all these babies were
getting into the river in the first place. Had a mysterious illness stricken these
poor children? Were some hateful people throwing them in deliberately?
A huge controversy erupted in the village. One group argued that every possible
hand was needed to save the babies since they were barely keeping up with the
current flow. The other group argued that if they found out how those babies were
getting into the water further upstream, they could repair the situation up there
that would save many many more babies and eliminate the need for those costly rescue operations downstream.
“Don’t you see,” cried some, “if we find out how they’re getting in the river, we
can stop the problem and no babies will drown? By going upstream we can
eliminate the cause of the problem!”
The downstream is all the programs we have in parishes. Programs like Alpha, Life in the Spirit. They are attended by 90-95% already practising Catholics. They do little to bring back people to the Church. One or two folks per year per parish?
The upstream is the Ontario “catholic” system. It is largely run by OECTA and CARFLEO. We lose 90% of our children there, often by 10-12 years old. 5% remain Catholic (by the work of their parents by doing things like getting exemption from all Grade 9-12 Religion classes) and faithful to all the teachings of the Church. The other 2-5% attend parishes like St Joe’s Ottawa which push LGBTQ, “social justice”, new age etc. There are 37,000 children in the Ottawa Catholic school system – we will forever lose over 35,000 of these children and teens.
The numbers game doesn’t make sense. Why don’t bishops and priests in Ontario go UPSTREAM and fix the problem. And until it can be fixed, do everything to have parishes support homeschooling, independent school etc. This would be a much better use of limited resources and would have many more souls saved!