The reflections on our Parish Mission statement continue today as we focus on the direction in our mission statement that our parish "recognizes its responsibility to be a welcoming community."
We have the opportunity to gather as a parish to celebrate the Eucharist daily. Our Sunday Eucharistic assembly differs from all other social gatherings because it speaks of our identity as a community of faith gathering to acknowledge the reality that Christ is present in His Word, in Sacrament (Body and Blood of Jesus), in the priest, and in the people assembled. It is precisely the presence of Christ in the community that is the very nature of who we are as a community that remembers how God was revealed in Jesus of Nazareth and continues to be revealed in us. Each time we celebrate the Eucharist we are called to recognize the presence of the living God in all who gather around the altar. It is because of Christ's presence that there is "no longer Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female." (Galatians 3:26-28). We pray for the spirit of unity in each Eucharistic celebration. Having been fed by the Eucharist, we can then go out to become the Body of Christ in our world.
Growing in the understanding of who we are as a welcoming people, we will initiate and continue to hand on the spirit of welcome to all we meet. Our parish bulletin so often calls us to reach out and be the presence of Christ in our local area and outside the Chathams. This written word is made human as we continually open ourselves to new members individually and as parish groups. Over the past five years we, a people reaching out and warmly welcoming one another in ministry, have experienced parish partnership with Our Lady of Victories of Paterson. Our recent concert has been a powerful example of gifts shared to build up the Body of Christ, the Church. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I A.) and the Children's Catechumenate call all of us, as baptized persons, to invite and welcome all those interested in becoming members of our community of faith. Welcome is integrated with the responsibility of forming disciples as we accept the awesome responsibility and privilege of this faith journey.
We have heard the words, "They will know we are Christians by the way we love one another." One way to express this reality is through our acceptance of our mission's challenge to animate the welcoming presence of Christ in one another and the community at large. Let us strive to make real the words of the Sunday's Gospel reading: