Friday, September 21, 2012

Parish Family

Today I am thinking again about what I left off with in my introductory letter to you last time: Parish Family. The cause of this reflection comes from my visit to the parish that I have worked with for the past 30 months. The parish, St. Aloysius Gonzaga in Washington DC near the Capitol Building, has served the downtown Washington area for the past 152 years. After a confluence of issues, the Jesuits felt they could no longer adequately serve this small, remnant parish community. This Sunday was their final mass before the parish merger with a neighboring parish community.

One of the themes that the pastor, Fr. Clifford, highlighted during the mass was the witness of Saints and how we witness, through our lives, as Saints on the Journey. Father pointed out how important it was to come together and support each other on this journey. Children also need this good witness of Christians surrounding. I believe this applies to all of our faith communities. Our Christian-Catholic Brothers and Sisters surround us each Sunday as great witnesses of the faith, even in all our brokenness. Parish families become the only family for many people when they are miles and miles away from home or are the only surviving member of their kinfolk. I know that I have received great blessings and support from all the Saints around me in my blood family and my parish families.

The other amazing point that really hit me today was the church building and what really makes up church. For the Aloysius Parish, they continue to mourn the loss of their sacred worship space. In a town hall meeting earlier this year, many people pointed to the front of the church and said “I was baptized right there twenty years ago” or “My wife and I introduced ourselves to each other for the first time in that pew.” The space does hold such great meaning for us. But, we can never fail to remember that it We, the People of God, that make up the church. Buildings are great and give glory to God, but we give greater glory and can show our faith everywhere we travel.

The closing song for today’s final Aloysius mass had a magnificent line that serves for all of us to recall and remember this week: “You ought to tell somebody. Go and be a witness for the Lord.” We are Christian-Catholics 24 - 7 - 365 and not just on the 52 Sundays of the year. May the Peace of Christ be with you and your family today and always. Amen.

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