August 14, 2011
Saint Brigid as a Family
As Saint Brigid is nearing four thousand registered households, the question leaps out at me: can such a large number of people livethe life…as a family? If you read the history of the early Church of Christ (as seen in the books of the New Testament), it is clear that the boys and girls and the women and men of 100 A.D. understood their discipleship (their following of the Lord Jesus and His Way) in the Church as being members of the extended holy family and as members of His Body. But that was 100 A.D.
After the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine to the Way of Christ (in 312 A.D.), the Church grew exponentially. The small “house-churches” that served as the place for the Sunday liturgy for Saints Peter and Paul could not hold the number of Christians that were seeking the Lord and His gifts of grace and presence. In quick order, great basilicas were built as centers of worship, as places for the Divine Liturgy (the breaking of the bread and communion with the Lord). Pastors, recognizing the spiritual needs of the flock of Christ, sought to find ways to allow the great crowds of worshippers a sense of the spiritual intimacy first experienced by the apostles, in that Upper Room, where their Friend gave Himself as food and drink…in the Lord’s Supper, our holy Mass.
Moving forward in time, let’s look at Anno Domini 2011…and our here and now reality as the parish of Saint Brigid…and how are we to “recover” that spiritual intimacy of being a part of the holy family? How are we to begin to live the lifeas a family, by caring for one another as brother and sister? Here are a few suggestions for us:
1) In your prayer, ask the Lord for a renewal of our parish family. This is a great parish, and there is so much of the Lord’s peace and presence here at Saint Brigid. But every community of believers, including us, should seek a continual renewal of mind and heart. So, let us pray for renewal of mind and heart.
2) Msgr. Reynolds prayed for this renewal. He acted on this desire of the Lord, that we are one…by bringing to Saint Brigid the retreat and renewal movement Christ Renews His Parish. This movement of the Spirit offers such blessing for us. I hope and pray that each and every person reading these words seeks out a “CRHP” retreat!
3) Another method of “re-framing” our participation in the life of Christ as family, is to become involved with one or several of the ministries at Saint Brigid. As a great woman of God…Mother Teresa…tells us: role up your sleeves and do the work of love…the work right in front of you.
4) With the assistance of Dr. Laura Bleekrode, I have begun to offer neighborhood “home” Masses. During the summer months, I have traveled to various neighborhoods and offered the liturgy for the children and teens and adults that live in that neighborhood. I hope that this becomes a “tradition” for me and for us. I’ll want to do this at least every summer; and if there is a desire for this kind of neighborhood gathering…we can meet throughout the year. If you might want to assist in organizing this neighborhood Mass ministry, please let me know…for I will need several families to serve as coordinators. Call or contact me with that “yes” (email@example.com).
These are just a few ideas. The key thing about being a parish family is in beginning to act like a parish family. We belong to one another…this is God’s plan for us. Let us begin again, to recognize each other as brother and sister…members of one holy family.