Speaking in regards to the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Pope Francis said, “Wherever there is a wall, there is a closed heart. We need bridges, not walls!” Since the founding of our community of faith 50 years ago our parish has only become more diverse. While some may see this diversity as a major challenge I have come to discern it as a major opportunity. We cannot exist as two parishes living under the same roof, but as Catholic Christians we must find ways of building bridges that opens our hearts to the other. This “other” might be someone of a different age and generation, they might be someone from a different culture than my own or it might even be someone who looks different from me or speaks a language that I do not understand. These differences can lead to frustration, anxiety and even fear. However, called to be the Body of Christ, the divisions that we find in the world cannot and should not be allowed to exist in the church and certainly not here at Resurrection. Building bridges of understanding through the fostering of relationships and getting to know the “other” for who they are is the only way to bring the walls down. As Sister Rosa reminded the parish leadership nearly a year ago during a weekend retreat we might not be able to understand or even appreciate an entire culture, but we can understand and begin to appreciate the person that is sitting next to me or attending the same meeting or sharing a meal at a Parish Family Dinner.
To this end, I asked that a new commission be formed from the Pastoral Council that would help build a blueprint of the road that we might walk together in the coming years. This “Multicultural Commission,” recognizing that our parish already has many diverse cultures and a number of different languages counted among us, will be tasked with determining what bridges get constructed. In the coming weeks this commission, led by Mrs. Michelle Rios, will have the task of meeting with parish leadership and also cross-sections of our parish family to where there might be common ground from which to begin building. This period of consultation and listening will take place through April while everyone in the parish gets updates on a regular basis through the bulletin and other means. It will then be the task of the pastoral council, parish staff and I to draft a new mission statement for the parish that reflects the ministry and pastoral needs of our current and future members. Beginning next summer the Multicultural Commission will than use the feedback received and the new mission statement as a means to adopt policies and pastoral guidance to make sure that every culture, background and language is incorporated as a valued and integral part of our parish family.
I encourage you to attend the listening and consultation sessions that will be scheduled and that you pray for our parish during this period of discernment. All of us are called to open our hearts a little wider to Christ and in doing so will open them up to all those who are seeking to be recognized as an integral and incorporated member of the Body of Christ.
I love you all,
Fr. Mark Bialek