From Father's Desk

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

“Building up the Body of Christ” is the new mission statement for our parish family. This phrase comes from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (4:11-16). Here, Paul describes how different specialists in the church (pastors, teachers, apostles) are meant to give the generalists (the baptized) what they need for the work of building up the Body of Christ. In Paul’s own words, “to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” By “holy ones” Paul means the baptized, the faithful, in other words: each of you!

Often in the New Testament those who belong to the Church are called the holy ones or the saints, (depending on the translation). The whole church is entrusted with the work of spreading the Good News, making known the truth and beauty of the Gospel. The whole church are the holy ones. Saints of God are not just canonized in heaven but walking around in the world. Peter elsewhere admonishes the saints of God, “Always be ready to make a defense of the hope that lies within you.” In other words, each of us ought to be ready to give an explanation or testimony to the secret hope we carry within us.

Prominent in the New Testament, but somewhat obscured recently in the Catholic Church, is this call to holiness. About fifty years ago, the Second Vatican Council once again set before the whole church our universal call to holiness. (see Lumen Gentium nn.39-42) Holiness is not just for priests and nuns. In a particular way, holiness is needed for those who are in the world, as salt and leaven, charred with the duty to be a light to our neighbor’s feet. As a church, we still have a lot of room to grow in this area of our life together. My hope and prayer is that the Universal Synod will inspire the whole church to embrace the call to holiness, to really energize the base and rekindle a deep sense of mission and purpose for all the baptized.

During these past weeks, some have asked me: how will we live our mission? Indeed, the simple mission statement - building up the Body of Christ - needs some fleshing out. To that end, we have also discerned together and crafted a vision statement which puts some meat on the bones of our mission.

“As members of one Body, we strive eagerly (1) to follow our Lord, (2) make disciples, (3) seek out the lost, (4) share fellowship, (5) love our neighbor, and (6) above all worship God.” This key sentence offers us six concrete action steps we can take together as a parish family to build up the Body of Christ. Together, we will be using each of these phrases to organize and energize our common life.

One invitation I would make to each of you that accomplishes several of these key components is joining a small group. Small Groups are a great way to worship God, love our neighbor, follow the Lord, and invite others to do the same. Small Groups offer us the chance to have the big parish become small so that we can grow together and support one another in our relationship with Christ. Everyone can be in a group. And our groups are more deeply connected to our message!

Won’t you please prayerfully consider joining a small group? We are preparing a six week message series for Lent and we invite the whole parish to join a small group while we read a special Lenten book, Seriously God? Stay tuned for more details.

I am excited to be on this journey with you!

Yours in Christ our Head,

Fr. Joel Wilson