There are all kinds of families. Besides our biological ones, we form families at work, in our neighborhood, in clubs, and in organizations. For many, the attraction of a sports team is the sense of belonging to a ‘family-like’ group. Just ask Oriole’s fans who are reveling this summer in the success of an exciting young team after years of struggle.
Ever since I was little, I have been aware of belonging to a family of faith. While my first teachers were my parents, older siblings, and relatives, very soon my faith as a Catholic Christian was influenced and formed by others. Both clergy and laypersons taught me what it meant to be a follower of Christ by their words and deeds. I can picture them in my mind as if it was yesterday.
Throughout my life, I have been blessed with holy men and women who have guided, challenged, and supported me in my journey in faith. While some have passed on, their influence on me is still just as strong. In turn, I hope to have become an example for others who follow after me.
However, my story is not unique. Many have found their family of faith in a parish community. Here at Prince of Peace and St. Francis de Sales, we work to bring the Kingdom of God to the people of Edgewood, Belcamp, Joppa, Abingdon, Bel Air and other nearby places. On the first page of both of our bulletins is our Mission/Vision Statement, we vow to see Christ in everyone, to worship our God as a community of believers, and to proclaim the Lord’s message to the world.
It does not say that we do this ‘despite’ each other, but rather ‘with’ each other. We bring Jesus to others and ultimately attain heaven, as a family. The entire family. Like any family, there will be struggles and disagreements, but there will also be accomplishments and harmony. We will be selfish and petty, but we will also be selfless and generous. We will not be perfect, but God never asks us to be perfect, only that we be faithful.
As we move forward let us assume the best, give each other the benefit of the doubt and live every day following the ‘Greatest Commandment’ as given to us by Jesus,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind and your neighbor as yourself.”
– Patrick Perkins