Welcome to Saint Christopher Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of Detroit, located in Marysville, Michigan.
ARCHDIOCESAN VISION FOR PARISHES: MOVING FROM MAINTENANCE TO MISSION
The Archdiocese of Detroit, under the leadership of Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, has decided that the way to move forward for the Church of Detroit to respond to an ever-changing culture continually in need of meeting Jesus Christ in order to satisfy our every need and truly fulfill our humanity and our insatiable desire for happiness is through an Archdiocesan-wide Synod on Evangelization (“Synod 2016”).
We have adopted the phrase “moving from maintenance to mission” because we have inherited an institutional Church since 1969. We have been concerned about building institutions and collaborating with the lay faithful in the maintaining of those institutions, but now we must evolve once again back to a missionary church – one that proclaims Jesus and what He does for us in our lives. A missionary church is one in which the basic proclamation of the person of Jesus Christ is proclaimed by each and every member, one in which each and every member is able to speak about what Jesus has done in “my” life to others. Therefore, the Archdiocese has adopted a simple mission statement of “Encounter, Grow, Witness.” I myself, as Pastor of Saint Christopher Catholic Church in Marysville of the Archdiocese of Detroit expanded that mission statement ever so slightly to:
ENCOUNTER JESUS CHRIST. GROW AS HIS DISCIPLES. WITNESS TO HIS LOVE.
If God is going to matter, He has to be “real.” Many do not believe God is truly real; or if He is real, than we do not know Him personally. In order for God to be a “real person” in our life we have to meet Him. In order to meet God, we have to place ourselves in those situations where we can encounter Him, or at the very minimum be open to “meeting God as a real person.”
Technically, God is One in Three divine persons, so if you’re going to meet God, you’ll be meeting either the Divine Person of the Father, Jesus the Son, or the Holy Spirit. Since Jesus is revealed in the Bible, and Jesus reveals the Father, it’s probably best to begin with meeting Jesus – so just start speaking to Him; get to your “quiet place” and begin a dialogue with Jesus. The Holy Spirit is someone you may get to know through Mary, the Blessed Virgin, because she reveals the Holy Spirit – so if you want to focus on the Holy Spirit, then begin a dialogue with the Blessed Virgin Mary, and you’ll get to know her personally too. Since God is a God of the living and not the dead, all who have “died” are still alive, and can be “talked to” – all you need to do is start talking and listen from within your heart and mind, it’s referred to as “conversational prayer.”
So where do we encounter Jesus? We could encounter Jesus anywhere, but He is most present in the Holy Eucharist, or the other six sacraments of the Catholic Church, or in His Word (the New Testament bible), or the assembly gathered to pray and worship at Mass. I believe Jesus particularly wishes to make Himself known in Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction in His own Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, because it is “most Himself.” Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction is a special time set aside in parishes everywhere in which the Eucharist is exposed in a starburst like table top cross (set upon an altar) with a little window in the center where the Eucharistic Host sits. The Eucharist is Jesus, and we stare at Him, and speak to Him in our inner thoughts, feelings, and desires, and then He stares back at us. In this process of looking at Jesus and Jesus looking back at us, He speaks to us (through the power of the Holy Spirit within us) communicating with us through our own experiences, or through what we hear (intuitively from within), what He wishes to reveal to us about ourselves, life, the world, and Heaven.
Whatever our problems, worries, or concerns, Jesus has the answer. If we need a friend to talk to, Jesus is that friend. We need only develop a personal friendship with Him. How do we develop a personal friendship with Jesus? Just like any friendship, we talk to Him frequently, and listen to Him. It’s called prayer, but we are actually conversing with Our Lord, as a friend, sharing our thoughts, feelings, and desires (or aversions), and this leads to relationship with Our Lord, a relationship that is a friendship that leads us to greater calm, peace, and happiness.
When one encounters Jesus where they’re at, they meet a loving friend in the Almighty God of the universe, and that’s a pretty cool friend! Any true friend will help the other become the “best version of yourself” (cf. Matthew Kelly). With Jesus as your friend, He will help you grow to be more like who you really and truly are – your deepest identity as a person, and He will help you find your meaning in life. Then, after this initial encounter with Him, you will continue to talk to Him, and He will speak back to you. You will eventually come to love Jesus as a friend, and He will always be there to help you. After spending much time with this new friend of yours, you will find that your life has changed for the better, and you will know His love. After coming to know and love Jesus, you will feel so amazing that you will not be able to keep what He has done for you to yourself; you will want to tell other people about it. When you tell others about how Jesus has changed your life, then you will be a witness to His love too.
Everyone needs love, and the love of Jesus Christ is true, pure, honest, and simple. Encounter Him, He’s waiting for you … I promise.
Praying for all those who read this,
Father James F. Arwady