Parishes embrace spirituality of communion
August 18, 2015
HOUSTON - Three years ago, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo outlined a plan on how Catholic people and parishes in the Archdiocese can move towards a future that embraces a spirituality of communion. Fast forward through group listening sessions where the faithful shared their pastoral hopes and needs, creation of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan, and the formation of Parish Action Plans, about 40 parishes have shared their successes embracing spirituality of communion. Recently, their 43 success stories were added to the Archdiocesan website under Pastoral Plan.
Readers of the Texas Catholic Herald have seen a number of articles on what spirituality of communion is. These success stories outline how parishes have raised awareness on how to live a spirituality of communion.
But why such a focus on spirituality of communion? Isn’t it in practice in one form or another in our parishes? The answer is yes and the hope is that as a community we will deepen our faith and increase our hospitality through a variety of welcoming activities and ministries and by intensifying our sacramental and prayer life.
During Pope Francis’ recent visit to South America, his July 12 homily in Paraguay stressed the importance of welcoming others, of showing hospitality. His sermon demonstrates the “why” of spirituality of communion.
Pope Francis stated that discipleship is the identity card, or calling card, of the Christian and at the heart of Christian spirituality, of our experience of discipleship, is one key word — “welcome.” He said, “We might say that a Christian is someone who has learned to welcome others, to show hospitality,” and “When we are weary or worn down by our efforts to evangelize, it is good to remember that the life Jesus holds out to us responds to the deepest needs of people.”
Additionally, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on Evangelization (Evangelii Gaudium, 265) further clarifies the ‘why’ — “Jesus’ whole life, His way of dealing with the poor, His actions, His integrity, His simple daily acts of generosity and finally His complete self-giving, is precious and reveals the mystery of His divine life. ...We were created for what the Gospel offers us: friendship with Jesus and love of our brothers and sisters.”
As Christians, we are expected to open our hearts by helping our brothers and sisters and working within the community. The success stories outlined on the website are wonderful examples of hospitality and acceptance.