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Expressing Our Faith, Sunday Feb. 17

We talked about different ways that our faith is expressed and began with these three verses from scripture:

 “be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another [in] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph 5:19-20)

“love the Lord, your God, follow Him in all ways, keep his commandments, hold fast to Him, and serve him with your whole heart and your whole self.” (Josh 22:5)

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9)

It seems that each of these provides us with different ways that our faith in Jesus can be expressed. Yet, these are not the only way to live out one’s faith. Our Catholic tradition is rich with practices, sacraments and sacramentals, prayers, and the examples of all the saints! All of these can guide us as we live and learn our faith. The key words of this last sentence being that we “live and learn” our faith. Pope Francis tells us that living and growing in faith means being called to holiness. That might seems a bit daunting unless we consider what the Second Vatican Council has to say in guiding us: “Strengthened by such a great means of salvation, all the faithful, whatever their condition, are called by the Lord – each in his or her own way – to perfect holiness.” (Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, Lumen Gentium) Scripture guides us in the same way. In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul reminds us that every person is given gifts of the spirit to their own benefit. The point of our call to live (express) our faith is that we do not grow complacent in our relationship with Jesus. As we bask in the nourishment of Christ himself at the end of each mass, we are jolted out of our seats when the priest announces, “Go in peace!” We are meant to leave the church, to take what we learned and express it. What does that mean to you? What gifts has God provided to you so that you can express your faith in a way that is true to the person He created in you? Is it time to seek new ways to express your faith?

On BEing Catholic

This week, as part of our Confirmation preparation, we asked the question, what does it mean to BE Catholic? Our discussion began by “getting to know” people who are “famous” Catholics. Many of the people we talked about are people we read about in the news everyday. We also talked about saints, priests and bishops, and the folks around our parish. Which brings us to the idea that all Catholics are called to be saints, as in, “let’s all be a part of the communion of saints!” The Catholic Catechism states being Catholic even more simply when it says that God gives each of us unique talents and that our mission in life is to use those talents in ways that bring good to others or even, bring glory to God.

A few years ago, the Archdiocese asked us all what our reasons were for being Catholic. They came up with a Top 10 list that included the saints, Mary, sacraments, and The Eucharist among other things. Ours is a rich tradition with much to offer. The source and summit of our Catholic experience is the Eucharist which we can receive anytime we go to mass. The Eucharist is Jesus and it is communion with Him and each other: the heart of BEING Catholic.

As we prepare for the final leg of the journey of Catholic initiation, it’s good to consider what it means to be Catholic. Ask your parents, a grandparent, your sponsor. You may receive a different answer from every person. And that’s ok. Consider this though: how does each person’s point back to Jesus?

Confirmation, Sunday, October 21: Encountering Jesus

Pope Benedict stated “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the result of an encounter with an event, a person, that gives life a new, decisive direction.” In Acts, we read about the Ascension. Luke states that Jesus “presented himself alive to [the apostles]…during forty days [following his suffering].” That would be an amazing encounter with Jesus! Chances are, most of us will never experience that type of experience, yet Jesus DOES appear to us every day in a variety of ways. As Christians, our job is teaching ourselves to recognize these moments instead of “waiting” for His appearance in the sky (like in Acts 1:11). Perhaps Jesus really does have a hand in arranging your parents’ schedules so that they can attend a midweek concert/game/event where you are participating. Or, it is very possible that Christ himself sent that awkward kid in your class to the empty seat next to you at lunch. Growing in your faith takes practice just like learning to be a better athlete, student, musician, scientist, etc. One way to practice your faith is to “see” Jesus at work in your day. Give it a try! For the next few days, pick a time when you can stop and consider your day, maybe before you go to bed. Consider all the ways that God guided you in making decisions, connecting with others, providing for your well-being. Keep a journal or simply treat your thoughts as a prayer.

Confirmation Session 1, Sept. 30

Confirmation is a big deal. It is the completion of an initiation process that, for most of us, began when we were infants. In many ways, the sacrament is meant to give a young person a voice, a decision, a choice in committing to the Catholic (and other Christian) faith. Another way to look at Confirmation is that we were destined to be confirmed in Christ when we were baptized. God called us then – and when it comes to following God, we certainly have freewill in accepting or denying that call, but it is a call that we are born to answer. Before, during, and Confirmation, we might be confused, we might have doubts, we might even wonder what we believe. Nevertheless, we are invited to BE CONFIRMED so that we have the strength and grace to RESPOND to these emotions in a Christian way. When we were baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we became part of the Catholic Christian family. Why not accept the gift of Confirmation so that we can receive the strength of the Holy Spirit in full? It’s a big deal – can you feel it?!

 

Since your baptism, what has led you to being confirmed? Parents, what gifts of the Holy Spirit have you recognized in your lifetime?

Baptism Congratulations

Joseph John was baptized was on  Sunday, September 23, 2018 by  Rev. John R Flaherty.  Joseph’s parents are Christopher and Kayleigh. May our faith community of St. John the Baptist provide Christian witness to Joseph John and assist his parents in helping Joseph John to grow in his faith.

Baptism Congratulations

We welcome William Francis son of John and Stephanie who was baptized on Sunday, September 9, 2018 by the Rev. John Flaherty.  May the parishioners of St. John the Baptist provide Christian witness to William Francis and assist his parents to help him grow in his faith.

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