Going to church for worship is one element in living life as a Christian. Being church means making an active contribution to the Church's life, being a vital organ in a living body.
The first step in being church is being connected to others in our parish by:
- Cultivating Community in "the fellowship of the Holy spirit." Get to know one another in a more than casual way.
- Treating others as brothers and sisters in the family of God in Christ. Give others the time and attention we would give to our blood relatives.
- "Above all, clothing yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony" (Colossians 3:14).
- Share Our Lives - Authentic fellowship calls for more than coffee-hour courtesies. Grow to the stage when you can share your troubles as well.
- Learn Together - Take part in adult formation, retreats, or workshops to encourage others as well as to improve our own spiritual life.
- Work Together - Join in parish projects or committees to support the work of others as well as to make our own contribution. "So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith" (Galatians 6:10).
- Encourage Each Other - By supporting their efforts, praying for their concerns, and building them up in the eyes of others. "Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor" (Romans 12:10).
- Bear One Another's Burdens - Be accepting of the weaker community members. There is no "perfect" church: every parish is made up of "saints" who are sinners, each with their own weaknesses and infirmities. "Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2).
- Admonish One Another - Do not shrink from confronting "family members" who are hurting others by promoting conflicts, pettiness, and legalism. "My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit, should restore such a one in spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourself are not tempted" (Galatians 6:1).
- Protect the Unity of the Church - by avoiding gossip or cliques, and speaking ill of others.
- Restore Broken Relationships - when they occur by admitting our faults. No project or program is worth harming the family's inner life. "If anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive" (Colossians 3:13).
From Father John's Bulletin