BEING CATHOLIC WITH OTHER CATHOLICS
First Corinthians 1:10
Brothers and Sisters,
After four years of “hurry up and wait,” we are now ready to begin our time together as – what the Diocese of Saint Cloud is called our “Area Catholic Community” or ACC. For many of our brothers and sisters around the Diocese, this involves great changes but for us, we will only have a slight change in that we will still get one priest but change the parishes with-whom we share that one priest.
I am excited for all of us to begin our time together. I am, in fact, excited that we don’t need to worry about the massive changes happening at other parishes around the Diocese where six or even eight parishes are being grouped together with a complex schedule involving three different priests. For us, we can rely on the stability of one priest in our three parishes and a much simpler schedule.
Here’s a great word from Christ that I hope will be a good measuring stick for our new group of parishes: I pray not only for them but also who will come to believe in Me through their word, that that they all may be one as You, Father, and I are one (John 17:20-21). These words of Christ were prayed in front of the apostles at the Last Supper as part of Christ’s High Priestly Prayer given before the beginning of the Passion.
My hope is that we all may be one, as Christ prayed. The whole Church around the world is united in so many visible ways: we use the same readings for Mass each and every day, we celebrate the same saints on the same days, we pray with the same words as other Catholics around the world not only on Sunday but daily, and the list can go on much further. The nearly countless parishes around the world are one in so many ways.
Our three parishes are already united in those ways and, I hope, can be united even further. When we plan our Mass schedule, I hope we can make our opinion known with great charity towards those in the other two parishes. I hope that when we plan our festivals, fundraisers, and other events, that we do so with a warm and welcome invitation to the members of the other two parishes – and plan on accepting their invitations to us when they are having their own fundraisers, too. I hope that we can see that our priest will try his best to be organized, helpful, fair, and pastoral to each individual, each parish, and to all our Area Catholic Community as a whole as well.
Those of you who have sat with me at your kids softball, baseball, basketball, football, and wrestling events know that I can critique an umpire or referee just as boldly as anyone. I admit, however, that those umpires and referees are doing their very best and I must give them both respect and the benefit-of-the-doubt. I humbly ask that all of you extend to me that same courtesy. I will try my best to do what is best for you; please remember and understand that the priest is in a very challenging position.
God be near,