"I laid a foundation as a wise master-builder might do." —1 Corinthians 3:10
The international outreach of the Pope and the Vatican has probably never been greater than the present. Pope John Paul II was a prolific missionary pope. We have more dioceses and parishes than at any time in the two-thousand-year history of the Church. Geographically, the Church has never been as "catholic" (universal) as today. Nevertheless, the Church is struggling, especially in Western Europe, Australia, and America.
One main reason for the breakdown of the Church in some parts of the world is that the basic unit of the Church is no longer functional. The universal Church is made up of dioceses, dioceses are comprised of parishes, but of what are parishes comprised? In some parts of the world, parishes are made up of individuals and nuclear families. Historically, these are not the basic units of a parish. A parish is intended to be a community of small communities, a family of extended families.
This is what we celebrate in today's feast. The Basilica of John Lateran was one of the first parish churches. It was built so that several communities could come together. On this feast day, let's pray for the Church to be renewed by the Spirit, raising up small communities to be the basic units of the parish.
Prayer: Father, may I be a living stone (1 Pt 2:5) in a living community of Christians.
Promise: "The temple of God is holy, and you are that temple." —1 Cor 3:17
Praise: "How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord!" (Ps 84:2) We rejoice in the shadow of Your wings. All glory and praise be to You.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our booklet Introduction to Small Christian Communities or on audio tapes AV 76-1, AV 76-3 or video V-76.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Bishop-Elect, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 26, 2011 (for 10-1-2011 through 11-29-2011) and May 26, 2011 (for 11-30-2011)
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