Small Communities Project - Connected with Christ
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I remember studying the history of the Church when I was in seminary, and seeing that the Church has always been persecuted, that being a Christian has never been easy. In the first centuries (but not only those), the persecutions were very violent, so that just by being a Christian, someone could be killed. In this way many of our brothers lost their lives - or maybe we can say they won them.
This persecution caused many Christians to become discouraged. That is why Saint John writes, by inspiration of God, the book of the Apocalypse, a book that presented us the victory of Christ and of those who are united to Christ. And it is as Saint Paul says, "everything happens for the good of those who love God." (Rom 8:28). Therefore, as we usually say in a popular Spanish saying: "There is no evil that does not come for good."
As a result of the persecutions, the first communities were strengthened in their communion. The persecutions made Christians take care of each other with greater care, learn to pray for each other with greater devotion, and use the means at their disposal to share and celebrate the faith. Thanks to that, today we have the letters of Saint Paul and the other writings of Holy Scripture, and a greater understanding and sense of community within the Church. Today, we are not in a time of persecution, but we must learn from history and respond to current demands in the same spirit with which our first brothers and sisters in the faith did.
All Saints is beginning a project to create small communities, in the style of the first communities, where those responsible for the communities are aware of the people who are in their circle, aware of their material needs, and at the same time their spiritual needs. Therefore, keepers will telephone their community to ask how they are and to remind them that they are not alone. When possible, they will agree on an opportune time with them to virtually meet and share prayers, meditations, Bible readings, etc., so that those in the community feel involved and cared for, and so that everyone is reminded of the need for God and the company of the Church.
Through these communities, we primarily hope to achieve two objectives:
1. Material assistance for those most in need
One of the things that has most characterized our parish is helping those most in need: the elderly, the sick, people who live in situations of risk in their lives, those who are alone, etc. The pandemic crisis we now face is likely to cause greater difficulties for people who are at risk. Many cannot obtain the necessary supplies they need to survive: food, medicines, etc. It is our duty as Catholics to assist these brothers and sisters.
The network of communities that we are making will allow us to have a certain monitoring of our brothers and sisters who are most in need, helping us to realize the existence of these needs. Our goal is to support them by working together in charity. We will gather the needs of those in our community and determine how we best can help, making sure to promise things we can deliver.
Our second objective is:
2. Spiritual assistance for all our parishioners
Let us remember what we hear in the Gospel of the first Sunday of Lent, "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." (Mt 4:4) Many of our brothers and sisters do not need material things, but they are hungry for words of hope. They need the company of their family in faith; they need a word of encouragement to help them continue to pray and not lose their peace.
Faced with the crisis we are experiencing, our brothers and sisters must know that they are not alone, that the Church has not abandoned them. It is likely that many of them want to pray, but do not dare to do it alone. That is why today more than ever we must intensify our sharing of faith with those who are by our side, and we must do it in an orderly and systematic way, so that we can reach the largest number of people.
How will this project be carried out?
If you would like to be a community leader, please email Fr. Marcos at [email protected] to learn more. The basic steps include:
Step 1: One person will be in charge of each community. This person will choose ten or twelve people they know to form the community together. They will send their list to Father Marcos for him to review and make sure that the same people are not repeated in various communities.
Step 2: After Fr. Marcos approves the community list, the head of the community will communicate with its members by phone, email, card (whatever communication is best) to let them know that the Church cares about them, would like to know if they are well, and to invite them to be aware of those most in need who are close to them. Above all, we aim to invite them to join in prayer and formation as a community.
Step 3: Materials to use in the communities: The priest will organize materials that the community managers can use in their virtual meetings When the virtual meeting is not possible, the community manager can personally call their pupils and share the assigned material.
I invite everyone to pray for the Lord to enlighten us, so that in this time of crisis we are able to deepen our faith and grow in our fraternal love.