Universality of the Catholic Church

12-09-2012Weekly ReflectionFr. Joseph Kabali

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

First of all, I want to express my sincere thanks to all you for your Faith, Love and Hope in God as revealed by Jesus Christ. Thanks for your prayers, love of the Catholic Church, support of this parish of St. Magdalen, commitment to your families and all the good things you do in your lives. I give thanks to Fr. Tim who received me into his parish on January 5th, 2009 and all of you with whom we participate in the celebration of the Sacraments. Thanks also for your expressions of friendship, hugs, and generosity. I was amazed by the so many invitations I received for Thanksgiving Day. Even if I could not attend all the invitations on such an important day, I treasure and honor the love you have for your priests.

On the other hand, reflecting upon my experiences here at St. Magdalen, I have realized that the people who come to worship in this Church come from different walks of life, cultural backgrounds and other significant variables. On a personal level, I have shared brief but memorable interactions in the Church Narthex of St. Magdalen with people from various States in the United States and other nationalities. All of them come to pray and/or are invited to pray by their loved ones. Sometimes, I feel I am at the United Nations! I recall interactions with parishioners and/or visitors from: all-over United States, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana , Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Uganda, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela and Vietnam. This information is a result of my interest in people and their backgrounds. Othersintroduce themselves to me before or after Mass.

All in all, I am impressed and grateful to God for the opportunity to experience the universality of the Catholic Church at St. Magdalen. Although diversity may be complex, it is really a blessing. It enables us to pray together to the same God in the same sacred time and space! Therefore, let us continue to pray and build bridges of mutual caring so that Jesus' prayer (John 17, 1 - 25) may grow deep roots (become a reality).St. John reminds us of Jesus' prayer to the Heavenly Father: "I pray … for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you Father are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me" (Jn. 17, 20– 21).

Consequently, on behalf of Fr. Tim, Fr. Jack, our deacons, the Sisters of Jesus our Hope, and parish staff, I invite you to continue coming to pray and grow spiritually during Mass and during the upcoming Christmas celebrations in this year of faith. I also take this opportunity to encourage you to integrate prayer into our daily lives. Prayer is important but we need to do it more often because it is not as easy as it sounds. Accordingly, Rev. Leonard Foley noted in his book entitled: Believing in Jesus: A Popular Overview ofthe Catholic Church: "Anyone who has tried to pray knows that more often than not it is just hard work… We not only find a hundred things to do before beginning to pray, but we also seem to have a thousand things we would rather do when we really begin" (Foley, 1981, p.154). Foley added "prayer is like friendship, which offers many 'useful' benefits. But if these (benefits) are the sole purpose for cultivating a friendship, there is reallyno friendship at all, only a business relationship (p. 155).

Therefore, let us individually dedicate more quality time to strengthen our relationship with God by praying (at least one Hail Mary daily), and extend our prayers beyond asking God for a personal need. I pray that God's presence and love may be revealed in what we decide to do and not to do in order to reach safely our final destination: Heaven. Oremus pro Invicem (Let us pray for one another).

Cordially in Christ, Fr. Joseph