According to the evangelist, Matthew, Jesus asked Peter to “build a Church”:
“And Jesus said, ‘I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.’” (Matthew 16:18)
Holy Family is a warm and welcoming parish, reaching out to those in need and calling all to Eucharist. We are just one of over 300 parishes in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and one of hundreds of thousands of Catholic Churches in the world. Although Holy Family may seem like the world to us, we are part of a very large church which, like us, seeks to help those in need, welcome the stranger and call all to worship Jesus Christ. In this letter, we will share two important and timely events within the larger church.
Our local Archdiocese has invited all of us to a year of Jubilee. Some 250 years ago, a group of Franciscan Friars founded a little church about five miles from us. San Gabriel Mission set into motion a community of churches reaching out to the native people in the region as well as the colonists traveling west to find a home. The Church declares jubilee years, or holy years, to commemorate occasions of great significance in history. Now through September 2022, the Archdiocese is celebrating the founding of our local church. Archbishop Gomez invites us to deepen our faith through prayer, pilgrimage, song, and discipleship.
During this year, as we remember our past, we also look with hope to our future. Archbishop Gomez said, “We walk forward together, conscious of our human weakness, confident in God who strengthens us, and committed to continuing the mission — of building God’s kingdom and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with the people of our times.” For more information about Forward in Mission, please visit: LACatholics.org.
In May 2021, Pope Francis called for a synod. A synod is an assembly of the clergy and in this case, also the laity in a diocese or the Church. This global synodal process of “Communion, Participation and Mission” is a three-year process. Pope Francis is inviting all Catholics to reflect on important issues in our church. Although we do not have the power to make binding decisions for the church, the Pope has asked us to share our reflections so that he may hear from all of his people. In this new year, our parish will be inviting you to “listening sessions.” Pope Francis has said this means not entering the discussion with the idea that there will be “winners” who get their way and “losers” who do not, but leaving agendas at the door, speaking with boldness and courage, listening humbly and being open to others’ ideas. In theory, no topic is off-limits and disagreement is welcome. In preparation for our listening sessions, Pope Francis invites us to question the church on synodality, the qualities of the Life and mission of the Catholic Church. These discussions will pave the path for our Church for the third millennium. Please join us in prayer, discussion and discovery. For more information, visit: www.synod.va.