We are family! It is a refrain you will hear from me over and over again. It is not just a song by Sister Sledge, it is our way of life at Saint Francis.
Church is more than just a bunch of people gathering once a week for Mass. It is about building a relationship with the Divine and a relationship with each other. Saint Paul felt so strongly about this that he included an admonishment to the churches under his direction:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.Hebrews 10:24-25. ESV.
Saint Paul admonishes us to encourage one another and to stir up one another to love and good work. In other words, we are called to help each other become better versions of ourselves. It is very hard to do that if we never meet together for fellowship!
It is also why we have the Saint Francis Covenant. While it is not require to be members of our parish, we encourage everyone to sign a copy. It is the agreement that bonds us together as family. The Covenant sets forth what is expected of you as a member of this family and what we as a parish family pledge to you.
As we continue to work to grow a truly loving, inclusive and welcoming parish family here in the CSRA, it is important that we work to treruly grow the family part. That is not to say that we must agree with everyone all the time. Family do have growing pains and issues from time to time. What it does mean is that we will strive to find ways to peacefully and faithfully resolve those issues. We will love each other through the hard times and come out stronger on the other side.
And that is how we begin living a different way to be Catholic!