From Father's Desk

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

As we begin a new year together as a parish family, we have been endeavoring to understand and appreciate what our mission is, and even what it means for us to begin to live out our parish mission statement.

When we say “church” we mean many things. It is the place where we go to meet, the worship we practice in that place, and even the people with whom we gather. “Church” carries all those meanings and more. As the church, as members of the Body of Christ, we are called to gather and worship but above all we are called to be united with Christ our head.

Today Paul reminds us “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:13). He reiterates the same teaching to the Ephesians (4:4-6) In both cases, Paul was encouraging each local church to live and work together for the strength and harmony of the community. In a way, to put away the things that divide and rally around that great unifier, Christ Jesus. The call to unity does not suggest that our differences are a weakness. Rather, all our different talents and gifts are necessary for the beautiful unfolding mission of building up the Body of Christ. It will take the whole church to work in harmony in order for Christ to come to full stature (Eph 4:13-16), in the moving and mystical imagery Paul uses to describe the members of the body in relation to Jesus the head.

Building on these scriptural themes and the writings of the church fathers, Henri de Lubac noted that the Church is the very continuation of Christ. Can we dare to think of our little parish this way - that our honor and duty is to continue the work and presence of Christ right here in our community? It is a bold and worthy mission.

One of my dear spiritual mothers, Saint Teresa of Jesus, penned a poem that has become part of the lyrics to a hymn we have been using during these weeks in church The Eyes and Hands of Christ. I love this choral arrangement performed virtually. It shows how each of us are called to play our role, to contribute to the whole effort of building up the Body of Christ. Take a listen!

When we embrace our membership in the Body of Christ, to be the hands or feet or voice or smile of Christ Jesus, a new world of opportunity opens before us. We recognize that each Christian action, each work of charity or practice of virtue not only builds us up personally (assisting us to grow in holiness) but also contributes to the whole project of building up the body of Christ (assisting the whole church to grow). What a beautiful image and attitude to strive to carry with us each day.

Such is our mission as we see it. We are called to spend ourselves building up the Body of Christ, in our little corner of the world.

For many of us, it might be a new thing to think about a parish mission statement. I realize that. But the reality of mission in our Catholic identity runs deep. It is a fundamental part of what it means to be “church.” So much so, Pope John Paul II noted that, “The Church is missionary by her very nature, for Christ's mandate is not something contingent or external, but reaches the very heart of the Church.” (Redemptoris Missio n. 62 n. 62).

We have been drawn into Christ in order to perpetuate his presence and continue his mission of salvation. I am excited for this new stage of our life together!

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Wilson