Reflections" regarding THE PATH TO COMMUNION (continued)

Prayer  ~~  "Come Spirit of Love!  Come that we may be one, as the Father and You are One.  One united with You!  

 

One united through our Baptism in FAITH and in LOVE!"

The Bishops as builders of communion

 

Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, reminds us that the Bishops are our shepherds.  For this reason, they are instrumental in promoting communion among us and all the people of their individual dioceses.  

By their promoting of this communion,  the NEW EVANGELIZATION in America will be more effective and will be able to reach more people.  

 A "coordinated pastoral plan"  which is well organized and one in which everyone is able to participate is necessary in order for this to happen.

Christ is the head of the Church

 

 

AND 

  

has appointed the Pope as the the official head of His Church on earth.  

For this reason, he is  called the Vicar of Christ. 

Under

  the Vicar of Christ  

are the singular Bishops of each diocese.  

The Bishop is the official teacher of the faith in his  own diocese, in union with the Pope and all the other Bishops of the Catholic Church.  

Under the direction of their Bishop, each diocese is given the job to introduce and deepen the "encounter" of all God's people with Jesus Christ through their coordinated pastoral plan.

Our dear Pope explains that each individual diocese needs to be a "...visible expression of the Church's communion, which is formed at the 'table' of the Word (Holy Scripture) and of the Eucharist."   

 

The Christian Catholic community is truly revealed when we are gathered together in the Celebration of the Eucharist during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. During the Liturgy of the Word at the beginning of Mass, we are able to listen to and share in the readings of Holy Scripture ~~ and then we are able to partake of the Body and Blood of the Lord during the Liturgy of the Eucharist at the concluding part of the Mass.

 

Deeper communion between the particular Churches

We have to remember that the special assembly of Bishops which met from November 16th through December 12, 1997 was the very 1st gathering of Bishops from the entire American Continent

 The Pope feels that this was an historic meeting, from which the entire exhortation THE CHURCH IN AMERICA came.  He feels it strengthened the "coming together"  or communion of the various Catholic faith communities.  

The Bishops, themselves, when they gathered together experienced a very special "encounter" with the "Living" Jesus Christ.

In and of themselves, the individual Conferences of Bishops are good, but this synod or gathering was very special because it demonstrated a sincere solidarity among the various American countries and a chance to study "common challenges to the evangelization in America." 

Our dear Pope kindly asks our Bishops to "promote communion among the Churches and encourage the faithful to truly LIVE this COMMUNION MORE AND MORE AND ASSUME THE RESPONSIBILITY OF DEVELOPING BONDS OF COMMUNION..." with local churches in the other areas of America through education in the Catholic faith and traditions.

 

Fraternal communion with the Eastern Catholic Churches

It is a fact that the Latin-rite has a longer history on the continent of America than do the Eastern Religions.  

Pope John Paul II encourages the Latin-rite Catholic Churches 

to offer brotherly assistance to the Eastern Catholic Churches by helping in the celebration of the Mass and the sharing of "sacred buildings."

For the sake of this spirit of communion, the Bishops who gathered together with our Holy Father to prepare this  important document, ECCLESIA IN AMERICA propose 

1) that in each country's  National Episcopal Conferences, the Bishops create commissions made up of representatives from both the Eastern and Latin-rites for the purpose of studying common pastoral problems 
2) that catechesis and theological formation for lay people and seminarians of the Latin Church include knowledge of the living tradition of the Christian East and 
3) that the Bishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches participate in the Latin Episcopal Conferences of the different countries. 

 If these recommendations are followed, it would definitely result in the strengthen of the communion between the Latin and Eastern Rite Churches.

We must remember that the Eastern and Latin-rite Churches share the same faith, the same sacraments and the same basic teachings of Christ.

It is only their languages, customs and liturgical celebrations that are a different because they have been developed from the Eastern cultures and the Holy Mother Church not only allows, but encourages them to preserve those differences.

New Message of Hope 

The Encounter with The Living Jesus Christ

Encountering
Jesus Christ in America Today
The Path of Conversion

The Path to Communion

The Path  to
Solidarity