Friday, March 9, 2018 at 6:37 PM
5th Annual 40 Hours Devotion March 14-16, 2018

Catholic's True Home: The Parish

Catholic’s True Home

I was once approached by a young man who was obviously on search for God in his life.   He asked a series of questions which all came back to one fundamental question, “what is it like to be a Catholic”?    Considering this question, cradle Catholics are often brought back to their younger days while growing up in their home parishes.   They remember the priests that gave them Holy Communion, their teachers in religious education or parish schools.   They remember their participation in the Sunday choir or as altar servers.  They remember their experiences of parish festivals, picnics or socials.    Catholic life has always been centered on parish life.  This is the fundamental community through which we Catholics experience and live out communion within the universal Church.  

Pope Benedict XVI in his book Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith: The Church as Communion meditated on Acts 2:2, a verse that describes the early Apostolic church as a fellowship which “persisted in the teaching of the apostles…the breaking of the bread and the prayers” (pg. 63).   This biblical definition of the Church as communion or “fellowship” expresses the realities that forge our unity.    These sources of unity can be identified as catechism, Eucharist and prayer and are experienced fully in the local parish life.   Here the faith of the apostles is preached and taught every day.   Through the proclamation of the Word of God and the catechetical ministry of religious education and adult formation, the doctrine of the Church is taught and learned.  The Eucharist, the true source of our communion is celebrated as the heart of the parish life.   Every Sunday the faithful gather around their pastors to join together in the act of thanksgiving and worship to God in the very source and summit of the Christian faith, the Eucharist.   Here in our parish communities we live out truly what it means to be Corpus Christi.   The life of prayer and devotions so treasured by the faithful, necessarily linked to the Eucharist is lived in our parishes.   The many societies and apostolates that center their ministries on prayer express the hopes and joys, the pains and the sorrows of the parish community.      

It is for these reasons that parish life is the true experience of Catholicism.  Each member of the parish, young or old, rich or poor, each united in our common faith in the Risen Lord Jesus, journey together on the pilgrimage that leads us to our eternal home.       The many programs, ecclesial movements, retreats and other apostolic societies and missions must never take the place of the true home for Catholics, the very place of Christian fellowship (communion), the parish.   Spend time this weekend truly experiencing the joy of your parish life.   Receive the full benefits it has to offer, give of yourself to the many opportunities you have to partake of and foster that communion in your parish.   Support each other, pray and love your pastor and the priests, deacons and religious consecrate themselves at the service of this unity.     What is it like to be Catholic?   Come and see, visit our parish.  

In the Lord,
Fr. Vasquez 

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