We are all spiritual, aren’t we? I believe that God created each of us as deeply spiritual beings. Recent movements in church, prayer, worship and even theology have indicated a growing hunger among many for things spiritual rather than religious. I have noticed that this is so significant that religious practice is not only declining in the hearts and souls of many, it is viewed as contradictory to the spiritual. I believe that this is a problem for our church – a BIG problem.
I am frustrated because, as I see it, RELIGION is designed to express things SPIRITUAL.
Here is my simple assessment of this phenomenon as it pertains to the Eucharist and one of the reasons for our two-week series this week and next called At the Table. The institution of the Catholic Church has regulated the reception of Communion from the start of Christianity. This regulation intensified with the reaction to Martin Luther PROTESTING against the church just over 500 years ago. Since then Catholicism has dug in and highly regulated who is in and who is out in many areas of church. This regulation actually fueled the growth of both the Protestant movement and Catholicism – two very large religious organizations.
The Catholic Church has always asserted its importance in preserving the deposit of faith given by God, through Jesus and the Apostles, conveying the important role of the Church in regulating how the Holy Spirit guides us. The church takes this responsibility very seriously, hence we have many religious rules and guidelines, particularly those involving the EUCHARIST.
The Catholic Church has institutional responsibility to ensure reverence, truth and authenticity, as do many religious institutions. In Catholicism this was evident in the growing importance of receiving COMMUNION and the evolving regulation of it reserved for those worthy of it and attending MASS. The emphasis of these two words and experiences has overridden the participation in the EUCHARIST, which is what Jesus instituted. The EUCHARIST is the gathering of a grateful community to share prayer through ritual and song. It is the SHARING in both the tradition of and relevance today of scripture. EUCHARIST is the common experience of asking the Holy Spirit to change bread and wine, and thus to change us. And perhaps most important, RECEIVING the gift of Christ’s REAL presence in the tactile and reverent act of Communion.
My frustration continues because I can’t imagine a more profound spiritual exercise than that.
But evidently, we as Church have lessened our grasp of the spiritual in many ways and in the celebration of the Eucharist specifically. This is borne out by declining numbers who share in its profound grace by attending Mass regularly.
We want to talk about this At the Table, so please join us and please ask others to join either live or through live stream these next two weekends.
Annual Catholic Appeal
Many families in our parish have or will be receiving the Annual Catholic Appeal mailing from Cardinal Cupich. On behalf of those served by the ministries, parishes and schools who receive funding from the Appeal, we thank you for your gifts. Please return your response as soon as possible. The Annual Catholic Appeal offers a wonderful opportunity to answer Jesus’ call to “Come, follow me … and bring hope to the world.”
Each year at this time we get an opportunity to focus on and support our local church – The Archdiocese of Chicago (340 parishes and countless agencies in Lake and Cook County). This is an appeal for us to see that we are a part of a much bigger church that does so much to serve others through education, formation, basic outreach of food and shelter and to assure that this outreach is carried out in parishes and communities that may not have the financial resources to do so. In many of those areas the need is the greatest.
So we are all asked, as a local church, the Archdiocese of Chicago, to come together and share our resources. Please see more details about supporting the Annual Catholic Appeal on our website, holyfamilyparish.org. You can give at annualcatholicappeal.com or Text to Give –
Keyword: ACA2021, Phone number: 345345
Catholic Schools Week
Catholic Schools Week begins this Monday, February 1. Please visit the Academy website at holyfamilycatholicacademy.net for information about our parish school. Virtual tour opportunities are available as are in person tours after school hours. Contact Deb Atkins at [email protected]