The parish – A journey of faith
As members of the Greek-Catholic Parish of St. Joseph the Betrothed we are embarked on a great journey—the journey of Life and Faith. It is a great com- fort to know that others are go- ing down this road with us. When we register with a parish we are saying that it is our wish to travel down this road of Life and Faith with a particular community of people and become active in supporting its mission and vision. In fact, the word parish comes from the Greek word “paroikia” meaning “a pilgrim people,” a people on a journey of faith; a journey that we hope will one day lead us to the fullness of life in God’s Kingdom forever.
We are living in a culture that no longer supports a religious way of life (much less a Catholic Christian way of life), so the local parish plays an integral role in helping guide and support us on our journey. The parish does this through its educational and formational programs, prayer groups, spiritual development and celebration of the Word and Holy Mysteries. By these means, the parish nourishes and enables us to grow in wisdom, healing and grace be- fore God and the world.
A parish cannot exist and grow as a separate entity without an active ongoing interaction with the people who comprise it. When registering with a parish, a person is entering into a living faith community and like any other relationship, in order to be viable, healthy and participatory there must be shared commitment among its members.
We live in a very mobile society. More than in any other period in history we live in an era of shopping and surfing, with the malls, the internet, multi-channel TV, etc. The church is not immune from this reality. We continually meet people who are shopping for a church or a parish, people who for a variety of reasons never think of establishing a home parish until they plan to get married, have a child baptized, enter retirement etc.
The Church, for its part, requires its priests to have trust and hope that those seeking the Holy Mysteries are practicing Catholics in good standing and aspire to grow in their faith. The same is true when parents present their children for the sacraments. Priests have to trust and hope that the children will be raised in the Catholic faith. We, therefore, invite you to become an active member of the church and establish a living home parish.
In the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the United States of America, to be considered an “active” parishioner one must be registered in the Parish, fulfill the Sabbath Commandment by attending Liturgy faithfully on Sundays and Holy Days, and regularly support the Parish with time, talent, efforts as well as financially.
The obligation to attend Liturgy on Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation is a solemn one. This is not merely a matter of Parish policy. Divine law sets forth this requirement in the Third of the Ten Commandments, “Remember, thou, keep holy the Sabbath.”
These are normal behaviors for serious followers of Christ. Understandably, extraordinary circumstances such as sickness, travel, unavoidable responsibilities or bad weather could excuse the faithful from this obligation. The elderly or disabled are not bound to Sunday Liturgy attendance although highly recommended when possible. Disregarding this law projects an estrangement from the source of all goodness and can become a grave matter a serious sin for it shows habitual disregard for God and the Church’s Life and Law.
It simply follows that if Sunday Liturgy attendance is an important Catholic value, then parents who want a Catholic foundation for their family will deem it important to see that they and their children attend Liturgy on Sunday. Otherwise, they will send a mixed message to their children regarding what comprises a life of faith and that, of course, is neither good nor beneficial for family life.
Parents should also note that the expectations regarding Liturgy attendance do not apply only to the Catholic parent or parents, but to children and youth as well. All our children and youth, especially those attending Religious Education and Youth Ministry are expected to attend Liturgy faithfully. For during the Liturgy our souls and spirits are nourished and our minds enlightened by divine wisdom.
Each registered member must understand and appreciate our tithing responsibilities as Christian Stewards of God’s blessings to us and prayerfully commit to sharing them with a grateful heart; through our time, talent and treasure achieving and sustaining a solid common good.
The use of collection envelopes provides an affirmation of attendance which is important for our spiritual health and nourishment of our common Christian identity as the family of God. It provides the means to get to know who are the members of our community, in terms of being beneficiaries and sharers of God’s grace and blessings. The use of envelopes is primarily about spiritual growth, healing and nourishment within the context of our local spiritual family of faith…not about money.
In addition to the journey of life and faith, a parish offers a community of friendship and support. It offers the opportunity to meet and interact with other people from similar backgrounds. It provides a vehicle for a support system for finding jobs, child care assistance, recommendations for doctors or dentists etc. It provides a safe and supportive environment for children to grow spiritually, mentally, physically, socially and creatively. We invite you to come worship and grow with us!