|From the Pastor...
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
So many of us remember the days when we as
Catholics would never be encouraged to participate in, nor
even enter, a church other than a Catholic Church. As a
kid growing up, I remember my grandmother remarking
about “those days”, as we kids would talk about going to
the Summer Bible Camp held at my dad’s Baptist Church.
We loved the music and the crafts, the teachings and the
fun we had, and never thought there was anything strange
or crazy about what we did. Different, yes!
We were fascinated by the fact that the floor to the
sanctuary could be lifted off, and there was a pool
underneath it. They passed around a tray with little
glasses of grape juice once a month on their “communion”
Sunday, and they even had a woman leading the prayer.
While we never did fully participate in the Sunday services,
they were a great inspiration to me, as another way to
gather and praise the God who lives among us.
My encounters with non-Catholic services and congregations throughout the years has never once drawn me away from my Catholic roots. If anything, they have only served to enhance my understanding of community and faith in Jesus Christ. Our Catholic faith is a rich treasure of sacrament and presence, Real Presence, that is, in Eucharist, Word and Sacrament. We as Catholics have a rich history of faith and a strong tradition to fall back on, even though the years of our existence have also been met at times with great difficulty and pain. Nowhere else do I see so clearly the presence of sin in the world, than in some of our own history as a Church. And nowhere else, too, do I witness the power of forgiveness and redemption, than in the periods of our history which brought about healing.
Times may change and attitudes to many things shift along with those changes. But time does not remove one bit of the Truth we strive for. It merely offers opportunities to learn and grow, to deepen in understanding and in compassionate acceptance. There is so much work ahead of us all, personally and communally, as we as Church continue to labor in the Lord’s vineyard. There is much healing needed among us, and much that can be gained by opening up our minds and hearts to others need and pain. We will not be weakened through our sharing of faith, but rather strengthened.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins this Thursday and runs through Thursday next. You are invited to make every effort in learning more about your faith, and that of other Christians, and pray for unity among us all. Elsewhere in the bulletin is an invitation to be part of two ecumenical services being planned. I hope that you will consider being at one, if not both. As members of the Body of Christ, we can only be as strong as our weakest members. Let us strive to share our richness and strength with others this week, so that together we can all grow stronger in His Name.