Sisters and Brothers
Perhaps you’ve noticed that, in the context of the Eucharist, we’ve begun including a prayer for Bishop Raphael, our Diocese and one of our sister parishes. I have decided to commit ourselves to this discipline throughout the year because I sense that most of us do not have a full understanding of who we are as Ecumenical Catholics. I think it is important to highlight this, because I sense that many of us assume our church only includes our parish and ends at the city limits. But it doesn’t.
St. Jerome is part of the Ecumenical Catholic Diocese of Mid-America, and in catholic understanding, the “local church” is not individual parishes, but includes all the parishes within a diocese. Thus our church includes our sisters and brothers in Missouri, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Chicago, and we will soon be connected with folks in Tennessee.
Another thing I think we might under-appreciate is our relationship with Bishop Rafe. We’re so used to having Bishop Rick around, we tend to ignore that we now have Bishop Rafe serving in his place. Bishop Rafe is doing a tremendous job trying to get our diocese established and advancing the over-all mission of our communion. Although he spends hours and hours each day on church work, he is currently receiving no income whatsoever. He deserves our prayers as well as our thanks!
As I have continued my DMin studies, I have gained a better appreciation for what it means to be a “church” and to be “catholic.”
Our identity as Anglo-Catholics is centered around the Eucharist. That is what holds us together. As we gather together around the altar, we are to be mindful of our sisters and brothers. And, we are always to be about the business of seeking fuller communion. As a member of a diocese, this means we should always be seeking ways to cooperate with, learn from, and share with our partners. I hope we will come to understand this fact and strive to be more cooperative with our sister parishes as we move forward!
To read more: Around the Parish, 1.25.2018