|Two Different Concepts of Parish Life|
|Written by Sherry|
|Saturday, 02 October 2010 15:36|
I love this short pastor's letter which I found on the front page of the St. John Neumann Catholic Church (Lilburne, Georgia) website.
"There seems to be two different concepts of parish life that most adhere to, two different visions of what SJN is in itself.
In the first concept, some think of SJN as simply a place, an address, a geography. It is a place where you go to celebrate or "hear" Mass. The parish is a place where your children are sent to receive the sacraments. The parish is a place where engaged couples choose to have their wedding. The parish is a place where the dead are waked and prayed over. In this first concept of a parish, to be a parishioner of SJN means that you come to this address to receive the gifts of God, the gifts of God that are given to you through those that serve the parish in ministry and through ordination. In this first notion of "parish", it's all about what you get when you come here.
In the second concept of "parish", others recognize that SJN, while being a place, an address, a geography, it is also the meeting place of the encounter with God, where the mystery of the Lord's Presence is forming us into a living fellowship, a living community. In this second concept of "parish", parishioners of SJN follow the invitation of the Lord, and trusting in his new Way of life, seek to give of themselves in imitation of the One who poured his life out for love of us. In this second notion of SJN, parishioners seek to live out their faith as active and intentional disciples of the Lord Jesus, sharing themselves out of love... for God... for neighbor. We seek to be good stewards of the gifts of God; and we realize that each of us is called to fellowship with all, as the walls of isolation and separation are broken down by the power of divine love."
Archdiocese of Atlanta. Not a surprise.
Discussion: How do most of your Catholic friends and family regard their parishes? Paragraph number one, paragraph number two - or something else? How do you think of your parish?