Explaining, living a spirituality of communion

January 14, 2014

HOUSTON — Over the past two years parishioners have seen and heard quite a bit about “fostering a spirituality of communion” and Daniel Cardinal DiNardo’s vision for the future of our Archdiocese. 

It’s important to remember as Catholics that a spirituality of communion is not just a religious “flavor of the month.” Yet, some may still be struggling to define spirituality of communion for themselves or their parish.

Father Pat Garrett, pastor of Sts. Simon and Jude Catholic Church, explains fostering a spirituality of communion to his parishioners like this: “Christ is present in all of us so collectively we are one in the Body of Christ. Spirituality of communion is the real point of uniting in the Body of Christ.” He realizes this is still a hard concept to grasp and proposes this two-step process to help parishioners in the Archdiocese embrace a spirituality of communion:
1. Develop your own relationship with Christ and truly experience the love of God, and
2. Follow the second commandment — Love your neighbor as yourself.

Even though spirituality of communion may seem like a new concept, it is deeply rooted in Catholicism. 

How Catholics respond to each other and help each other is how they are perfectly united in God’s love, which then allows them to find ways and means to be better church communities in the Archdiocese. 

As Sts. Simon and Jude’s pastoral council worked on its pastoral plan, Father Garrett was especially excited about two of the objectives outlined in the spirituality of communion — family and diversity. 

“The re-emphasis on family underlines the idea that we are in this together,” he said. “I also like the objective on diversity as it makes all of us more culturally aware. Our pastoral council is looking to expand our reach to other cultures in The Woodlands.”

Father Garrett offers this advice to other pastoral leadership teams developing their pastoral plans:
• Document all your current offerings;
• Fine-tune them to see if they meet an objective; and
• Utilize the mentors and resources within the Archdiocese for further guidance.

Father Garrett poses one final thought: “Pope Francis, in his own way, highlighted the importance of a spirituality of communion in his recent Apostolic Exhortation where he writes, ‘The individualism of our postmodern and globalized era favours a lifestyle which weakens the development and stability of personal relationships and distorts family bonds. Pastoral activity needs to bring out more clearly the fact that our relationship with the Father demands and encourages a communion which heals, promotes and reinforces interpersonal bonds.’ Through a spirituality of communion, the pastoral activities of our parishes unite us together in God’s love.”