“I call us to be servant leaders who build COMMUNITY through hospitality, respect, inclusion, and holiness.”
Building a successful parish-based community ministry as Bishop Bambera challenges us to do in his pastoral letter, Wounded and Loved, Regathering the Scattered, requires tapping each and every able Catholic’s baptismal call to serve. There is much ministry to do but the good news is that there are plenty of baptized sisters and brothers to invite to participate.
The Community Coordinating Team can be the source of organizing community work. One challenge is to create an effective structure for carrying out this important work. The structure must be able to encourage and nurture community ministry in the parish with a view to the larger picture provided by the parish pastoral council.
- Go and Make Disciples reminds us that every person is called into relationship with Jesus and that relationship is always lived out by active, loving participation in a community. Bishop Bambera reinforces that idea. Therefore, creating a sense of community that pervades all aspects of parish life is essential.
We all have – and are—stories of faith … We can understand evangelization in light of these stories of faith: namely, how we have been changed by the power of Christ’s Word and sacraments and how we have an essential role in sharing that faith through our daily lives as believers. Looked at in this way, evangelization is what we are all about! Being involved in the story of salvation is what faith is all about! Evangelization is the essential mission of the Church. (Go and Make Disciples, p. 4)
For the believer, faith is not a private affair acted upon in isolation; it is a call to holiness with a community of people; it means living out a faith commitment with a community of people. (Wounded and Loved, p. 11) 13
- Go and Make Disciples provides the insight that the three goals of evangelization are all important. Therefore, community ministry must have these three simultaneous foci: we must develop the holiness of the individual throughout life; we must reach out to everyone to invite them into a relationship with Jesus Christ; and community ministry includes making the world a more just and respectful place for everyone.
Community Coordinating Team
In your parish, the Community Coordinating Team might be involved with these aspects of parish life — the Office for Parish Life has resources to support you:
- Marriage Preparation (Pre-Cana); Earlyweds Support
- Marriage Enrichment and Support
- Hospitality and Inclusivity
- Family Faith and Discipleship
- Caring Ministries
- Spiritual Development and Retreats
- Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations
Ministries of Community
In Wounded and Love, Regathering the Scattered, Bishop Bambera highlights five “practical considerations” for community ministry in parish:
- Nurture the personal relationship of our members with God
- Deepen everyone’s knowledge of God’s saving ways
- Encourage and empower members to be evangelizers at home, school, in the workplace, neighborhood, marketplaces, and places of leisure
- Reach out to the unchurched, inactive and alienated, inviting them to join in the Church’s belief and worship and life of discipleship
- Strive to promote the consciousness that we are all part of a global community and our actions often have broader implications than just within our local community