Holy Family is a welcoming Eucharistic community of disciples of Jesus Christ, connecting faith with life and reaching out to those in need.
Holy Family is welcoming…
Jesus’ love was all encompassing…he never excluded anyone from the circle of his compassion, forgiveness and love. The greatest sinners of his day, the tax collectors, prostitutes, and other outcasts and outsiders, were always welcome at the table. In fact, Jesus seemed to have the biggest problem with the insiders, especially those who were entrenched in the religious leadership of his time, the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Levites. Remember the second chapter of Mark when Jesus calls Levi, better known as Matthew, to become one of his apostles. The leadership of the time was outraged by Jesus’ choice but Jesus responded “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Whoever we are, however upright or sinful we might feel, each one of us is in need of Jesus’ reconciling and unconditional love. We both encounter and reciprocate this love of Christ in the shared faith of the community and in the call to build the Reign of God in our world right here right now.
Because Jesus calls each one of us, without regard to who we are or what we have done, one of the most important elements of our mission statement is that of welcome. We welcome all kinds of people: the rich, the poor, the middle class, the Catholic who never misses a Sunday or holy day, and the Catholic who is attempting to make worship a part of their experience. We welcome non Catholics to worship with us, and we also invite them to become one of us. We welcome those who are seeking God but perhaps are not sure they believe in God. We welcome families and households of every kind.
We are a community of disciples…
Baptism is only the beginning of our life in Christ. Through God’s gift of grace given to us in Baptism, we are called by Jesus Christ to become his disciples. A Christian disciple is one who learns a complete, coherent, comprehensive Way of Life from Jesus.
While the surrender to Christ will take many different forms, there are certain virtues, dispositions, and customs that help define a life of Christian discipleship. As Christians, we strive to live a life of holiness in whatever state of life we find ourselves: single, married, ordained, vowed or consecrated. The life of a disciple is rooted in joy, peace and love—it is certainly not dour, humorless, or boring!!!
There are many ways in which we can learn to be disciples. Some of the most important include:
- Praying frequently
- Participating in Mass every Sunday
- Studying Scripture
- Receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation
- Serving others, especially the poor and those in need.
- Sharing my gifts and strengths with my faith community, as well as being generous with my financial resources
- Connecting with my faith community through the activities above
- Bearing witness to Jesus Christ and evangelizing others through my words and deeds
For the past few years we have incorporated the theme of discipleship into all we do here at Holy Family. In 2010, our Centennial Year, through June 2011, we celebrated the installation of the Beloved Disciple statue, dedicating the year to a deeper spiritual, theological and liturgical exploration of what being a beloved disciple of Jesus Christ meant. We approached the subject through the lens of comments made by the eminent scholar Raymond Brown, responding to the question “Who is the Beloved Disciple?”
Traditionally, the Beloved Disciple was believed to be John, but maybe it could have been Mary of Magdala, or the man born blind. What about the Samaritan Woman who first took the word of Jesus to the Gentiles? Could it be you? Could you be that much for our Lord? How can you NOT be when Jesus calls us to be his beloved disciples. Beloved disciples are those who follow Christ, those who do God’s will, and those who take seriously the call to wash feet, to teach, to serve, to worship.
We are a Eucharistic Community…
All four Gospels and many passages found in the epistles speak of Eucharist. Jesus modeled the Eucharist in the Last Supper when he broke bread and shared wine with the disciples, telling them that these were indeed his body and blood. At every Mass, we gather together as a community, the Body of Christ, to celebrate Jesus’ life, death and resurrection through the Eucharist. In the Mass, we give thanks for God’s gift of himself through his Son Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit—the word “Eucharist” actually comes from the Greek for Thanksgiving. In the Eucharist, we encounter God in the bread and wine and that encounter transforms not only each of us personally but humanity itself and the world around us. We are transformed in and through our community of faith, our Church, as well as through our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In the Eucharist, we are spiritually consecrated, like the bread and wine, into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
Luke speaks of Jesus at the Last Supper with these words, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you….” Nothing has changed. Jesus, the Christ continues to long to share Eucharist with us. We long to share it with one another. As a member this wonderful Holy Family community, sharing Eucharist is at the heart of our faith experience.
We connect faith with life…
Perhaps one of the easiest and one of the hardest things we do. We take Scripture, the Church Documents, and the Catechism, and connect these truths with our lives. How is our faith apparent in our actions, individually and as a community? Our life situations and stages provide different challenges for those in our community. We provide loving support and a place of welcome for families with young children, the divorced or bereaved, young people and young adults, the gay and straight, the single person, the elders, the sick and the homebound. As Catholic Christians, we strive to echo God’s word in all of our encounters. Likewise all of our social and community building functions are an attempt to connect faith with our life. At all of our gatherings we muse, would Jesus be welcome here? And is our mission at this gathering to build God’s holy reign?
We reach out to those in need…
John’s Gospel tells us, “When Jesus had washed the apostles’ feet and put his garment back on and reclined at table again he said to them, ‘Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me teacher and master and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do. Amen, Amen I say to you, no slave is greater than his master.’” We offer service to the needy in our parish, in our community and in our world and we offer care to one another.
Jesus called us to love one another as ourselves. As a parish community, we strive to do so that all who are in need can feel the power of the love of Jesus Christ which calls us all to be one. In solidarity with all our brothers and sisters, we give food to the hungry in our community, we reach out to those who are in prison, and we advocate on behalf of justice and peace and place the option for the poor and vulnerable at the center of all we do.