The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What only parish can teach

Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a regular columnist in the weekly newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston, The Pilot. She was raised in the Episcopal Church and entered the communion of the Catholic Church in 1983. Her most recent column, while having no direct relationship with the Anglican Use, Pastoral Provision or Anglicanorum Coetibus, nevertheless seems to fit well with some of the discussions going on about parish communities as they will exist in the Ordinariate and as they already exist in the various Anglican Use parishes.

Posted: 6/25/2010
Jaymie Stuart Wolfe

I never really wanted a parish job. But now that my work at St. Maria Goretti has come to a close, I’m so glad I spent six years in ministry at the parish level. There are many good memories and friendships I’ll take with me -- and just as many lessons learned. I’m grateful to have been part of a parish pastoral team because doing so has convinced me that there are things about ministry that can be learned only in a parish. Here are just a few of the operating principles I’ve been privileged to observe at St. Maria’s.

First, one spirituality does not fit all. Souls come in all shapes, sizes, and dispositions. While there may be only one Good Shepherd, there are as many leading graces as there are sheep to be led. That’s why it is important to offer a broad variety of opportunities for spiritual growth. No matter how good a program or idea is, not everyone will be served by an hour of adoration, or a Christmas concert, a Lenten mission, or family stations of the cross.

Second, increased activity is not the same as an increase in sanctity. Filling the parish calendar with all kinds of events doesn’t actually indicate that the people of the parish have a more active faith. On the contrary, it may be a sign that the staff lacks cohesive vision. Following Jesus, after all, isn’t just another extracurricular.

Third, there is no substitute for good liturgy. No religious education, service, or faith formation program can replace good worship in calling people into the presence of God...

Read the rest of Jaymie's column at The Boston Pilot.

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