Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Although Hurricane Dorian itself has passed on, the trail of destruction it left, especially in the Bahama Islands, remains colossal. Many people have asked how they can help. One of the ways to donate much needed assistance is through Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the humanitarian arm of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. From their website: “Catholic Relief Services – along with local partners – is working quickly to assess immediate needs. Donations help bring relief, in the form of food, emergency shelter, and safe water, to affected families.” Simply go to crs.org and you’ll find the link to donate specifically to help those affected by the hurricane. And, of course, let us never forget to pray both for those who survived and must rebuild their lives and for the many who have died – may they rest in Christ’s eternal peace.
I’d like to encourage everyone to please read the bulletin. Our parish is wonderfully active and offers many and varied ways to build up your faith through Bible studies, volunteer opportunities, programs to grow faith, organizations to meet and get to know fellow parishioners, and more. I can’t fit everything into my article! So, please look to where God might be calling you to serve and grow through our parish family.
I say the following because I truly love you as my parish family. Sometimes even good and well-meaning Catholics can fall into bad habits. One of them is leaving right after receiving Holy Communion before the Mass is over. As your spiritual father I ask you to please, please break from this habit and stay for a few minutes more with your family. There are many good reasons. First, our duty to God – our loving obligation – is to attend Mass. The obligation isn’t the reception of Holy Communion. Yes, the reception of Holy Communion – the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ – is the high point of our attendance; but simply receiving Holy Communion is not the whole of why we come. In fact, leaving early means we haven’t actually attended the whole Mass, just part of it, and therefore haven’t completely satisfied our loving duty to Christ. The word Mass – Missa – actually comes from what happens at the end, the “dismissal.” Are we here to give God merely a part of ourselves or even most of ourselves? He has given it all, and we respond in kind out of love and return to Him our all.
Also, our faith is not a “me and Jesus” faith. Leaving after Communion (without a sufficient reason) is essentially a selfish act, saying “I got what I came for, now I can go about my business.” The Mass is the worship, not of individuals, but of the Mystical Body of Christ. We come together as a body to worship the Head, Jesus Christ. At the end, we are blessed and sent out together as one body. If I were invited to your house for dinner and, after I finished my meal, threw down my napkin and walked out without a word, I’m sure that I wouldn’t be invited back! The Mass takes only a few minutes more after you receive Holy Communion. Remain with us, be blessed with us, and let us leave as one body in Christ to transform the world for Him – as one family of faith.
Let us pray for each other,