Smugness is said to be the great Catholic sin. Believing in the one, true Faith can inspire and enthuse or it can cause complacency and what Pope John XXIII called the “Church Comfortable”. It was Pope John who convened the Second Vatican Council to examine how the one true Faith can be lived in the world without becoming one with the world. Since the Council ended in 1965, Catholics have been challenged to better understand the Faith and share it to those in the world around them. Evangelization is as simple as a witness to the Faith, manifested in word and deed, what we believe as Catholics and then being willing to share that belief with others. Evangelization is different from proselytizing, which is assertive recruitment of people with another faith expression. Evangelization for Our Lady of Mercy Church is the clarity of our beliefs and a willingness to graciously share the understanding of those beliefs with the world: our neighbors, our co-workers, our family and friends, for the Kingdom of God.
“All they talk about is money”. That is all poor people everywhere talk about, and more precisely, the lack of money. Usually, the concern of the poor is not the new car or house, a better wardrobe, or a vacation destination – they talk about the necessities of life – housing, food, health, education, and the basic needs we all experience. The Church invented all that talk about money because we too, like the poor, are talking about the needs of the Church and the Faithful the Church serves. In addition to the needs of the poor through works of charity, the Church must “order divine worship, to care for the decent support of the clergy and other ministries, and to exercise the works of the sacred apostolate”. (Code of Canon Law 1254§2). The bishop’s pastoral letter, “Stewardship, A Disciple’s Response”, will be the guideline along with archdiocesan precepts and legislation for stewardship in the parish.
Both the universal Code of Canon Law and Archdiocesan statutes legislate the existence of a Parish Pastoral Council and a Finance Council. The pastor has been assigned by the bishop to a particular parish to carry out the functions of teaching, sanctifying, and governing. The pastor is assisted in this responsibility by lay members of the Christian faithful who are chosen for these responsibilities. Statutes and standards are governed by universal and archdiocesan law. The councils engage in long-term and short-term planning activities necessary to further the mission of the parish, to define specific goals and objectives relating to the mission, and to evaluate the fidelity of the ministry’s programs toward achieving the mission of the parish.