Parish Mission Recap 2016

What happened at the Parish Mission?

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One of the odd things about attempting to relay stories about parish life is that events get reported with a skewed sense of time. Here I am in the days after the Parish Mission writing about the Parish Mission, but it won’t be read by most people until 2 weeks after the Parish Mission.IMG_2186

And yet, I’m still going to try to share with you what happened and I hope you’ll take the time to read it. Because a number of people around the parish were very moved by what happened. You might even look around and see people “glowing” after attending one or all three nights.

Why? What exactly happened to cause this radiant effect?

Our parish joined up with Saint Benedict Parish for three nights (April 10-12, 2016). Together, we invited two well renowned Catholic speakers and authors (Joe Paprocki and Sr. Sallie Latkovich). They came and shared with us their wisdom about “community.”

The first night, Joe started by helping us recognize that community is in our spiritual blueprint as human persons. We are adopted children of God and like any children, we take on the characteristics of those we are closest too. There is something in us that bears a resemblance to God. As Christians, we know God as Trinity, which is to say God is a relationship of persons. Not three Gods, but one God and within God’s “oneness” is community. The resemblance we have in common with our creator and adopted parent is that of community. We need it. It’s part of who we are.

But to really be effective at community, we have to work at it. Joe pointed out that there are five building blocks we can cultivate to improve our community Mutual-Esteem, Trust, Sincerity, Responsibility, and Faith.

The second night, Sr. Sallie shared with us some of her personal stories which invited us to be a little more vulnerable and honest with ourselves. IMG_2190Community is not just the fun and excitement of cheering in the stands and having a party. Community invites us to share with one another, not only our joy, but also our pain. In fact, we can’t be the community we are called to be if we are unwilling to embrace the suffering of others.

On the final night, Joe Paprocki returned and concluded our Parish Mission by calling us to celebrate the uniqueness of being a Catholic Community. There are certainly good things about the many communities of which we are members. Work groups, sports teams, social clubs are all wonderful things. But the community of the Church is unique in that it is formed and sustained by God. God uses rich signs and symbols to inform us of his love, especially the Sacraments. To conclude, we celebrated the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick and the Sacrament of Eucharist to recognize our call to be community to and for one another.

This was a brief synopsis, but hopefully it proves useful. To those who came, as a reminder. To those who couldn’t come, as a way of provoking some thought for you during your personal time for prayer, and for all of us, a reminder of the value of our spiritual community at Saint Andrew. I also hope it serves as a prompting for next year when Saint Andrew and Saint Benedict will host the next Parish Mission. Until then, may we be blessed in the effort to be a community of grace and mercy to all.

God Bless!

-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate

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