august 14, 2022
According to the Code of Canon Law:
A parish is a certain community of the Christian faithful stably constituted in a particular church, whose pastoral care is entrusted to a pastor (parochus) as its proper pastor (pastor) under the authority of the diocesan bishop. (#515, section 1).
That rather cold commentary on parish life does contain some wonderful and beautiful concepts. First of all a parish is a community. Communities are groups of like-minded people often with a common goal and common ideals. Here in Hamden we are a community of faith who exists around the common altar of the Lord. We are a community of faith that exists, in the words of our patron, “to evangelize.” A community supports and is present to each other. A community that is based on the faith does not simply look into itself (Pope Francis would describe this as being “self-referential”) but looks outward to the wider world. Our community does this in a wide variety of ways from Social Justice initiatives to inviting others to join us in our various churches.
We are “stably constituted in a particular church.” In our case this does not refer to our four church buildings, rather this refers to our expression of the Church that is here in Hamden. Our archbishop has created us as an expression of the local Church of Hartford here in Hamden. We are Church! That reality animates us in a particular way. We are not simply a gathering of like minded friends or family we are Church. We are formed by Christ and renewed each and every time we gather. We are Church. Christ called us into being through his death and resurrection. We are Church. We are brought together in a profound way when we gather around the altar and the bread and wine becomes the Body and Blood of Christ and we become sons and daughters and brothers and sisters. We are Church.
I am the proper pastor and that humbles me to type those words. I am responsible as your shepherd and your leader. I am a servant-leader if you will. My task is a challenge as we bring three former parishes together into one.
I thank you for all you do for our parish. In your charity pray for our parish to be the community of faith that we are called to be.