A New Covenant Minute: August 26, 2012
THE MEMBERS OF OUR ST. JEROME EVANGELIZATION COMMITTEE WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK WITH YOU ABOUT SOMETHING THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT IN OUR CATHOLIC FAITH AND WHICH WE have been announcing for a few months - IT IS THE COVENANT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GOD AND US! SO, WE'D LIKE TO PRESENT A BRIEF MESSAGE or A COVENANT MINUTE!
This COVENANT MINUTE is from EXODUS 34:10-11 where we read:
"Here is the covenant I will make before all your people. I will perform marvels never before done in any nation anywhere on earth, so that all the people among whom you live, may see the work of the Lord. Awe-inspiring are the deeds I will perform with you!"
If we break this down, phrase by phrase, we find:
In the beginning of this chapter, the Israelites had seen God part the Red Sea and save them from captivity by Egyptians. Yet very soon afterward, they gave up on the God who'd rescued them in this amazing way. When Moses returned from receiving the Ten Commandments, he saw the Israelites - God's people - worshipping a golden calf. Moses angrily threw the tablets to the ground, shattering them just as the people had shattered God's first commandment - to worship God alone.
But at this point in the story we learn something significant about who God is: God is a God of second chances! So God gave Moses new tablets and reiterated his commands.
Those commands are as important today as they were for the Israelites, because God designed his commands for us to build a relationship with Him and with the people around us. Obeying God's commands helps us to live well and love well.
The first commandment, that God alone is to be worshiped, is at the heart of them all. God doesn't ask us for worship because His ego needs stroking, He asks it because worshiping Him alone is the best thing that could happen to us.
We don't have to kneel before idols, that is, anything for which we have a deeperdevotion than for God. Such an idol might be power, money, comfort, pleasure, even religion. However, worshiping the true God above everything else keeps life in theproper perspective.
God is passionate about wanting a covenant relationship with you and me!
Consider what's important in your life. Weigh your relationship with God in light of everything else. Ask God to help you identify anything that you give higher priority to than getting to know Him better. Then, remember the covenant God has established. It is to you He has directed this loving relationship! You are precious in His sight!
COVENANT AT ST. JEROME:
A NEW VISION,
A LONG-AGO PROMISE
Plans are underway to implement a new model of parish structure that will help strengthen our covenant relationship with God and each other here at St. Jerome. Our ministries and groups will be re-organized under five major areas of parish life. These five new “commissions” are: WORSHIP, FORMATION, CHARITY and JUSTICE, COMMUNITY, AND ADMINISTRATION. This all is an effort to strengthen our parish unity, promote the spiritual well-being and growth of our parishioners, and make possible greater communication among all parish groups and ministries.
St. Jerome is not just an organization or structure. “Parish” is a place where the Covenant with God happens. Our parish is where we all share a willingness to commit to our faith and use our God-given gifts to serve others and each other lovingly. So, toward that end, we hope parishioners will consider participating in this new re-organization effort that strives to identify and meet the spiritual needs of our community.
This New Re-Organization Effort Is A Work-In-Progress....
At the weekend Masses of June 10, parishioners were invited to nominate themselves or someone they know in the parish who would be willing to be considered for serving in a representative way on one of the commissions. Handouts that outline the organization of ministries and parish groups according to their respective commissions were distributed and still are available in the church and at the rectory. The next phase includes processing the nominations and planning a Leadership Night before the end of the year.
* A St. Vincent de Paul Conference recently has been organized at St. Jerome. Mervin Hughes is its chairiperson. Its commission is the Life-Charity-Justice-Peace Commission. More information will be provided on this web site, or please call the Rectory.
ABIDING BY OUR COVENANT AT ST. JEROME
For the past two years, as part of our parish planning through our Parish Pastoral Council and Evangelization Committee, we have been looking at the biblical concept of covenant, so foundational to our relationship with God and one another. Out of this theological reflection, our parish leadership has undertaken a new vision for our parish ministries and organizations, grouping them under five over-arching areas of parish life.
The five groupings are called “commissions” (as listed above). Each commission will have a parish staff liaison and eventually will designate or choose two of its members to serve on the pastoral council on a rotating basis. The commissions will meet one evening a month, separately and then together in large group, in an effort to facilitate communication and broaden parishioner participation in leading our parish.
How does this new organization of ministry advance our commitment to covenant? Scripture teaches us that communion (community) is the heart of our Christian identity--we are chosen and united by God (1Peter 2:9). Baptism calls each of us to participate in Christian communion because together we make up the body of Christ (1Cor. 12:12). Moreover, St. Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit blesses each of us with God-given gifts that build up the Christian community, so no one really can say that he or she has nothing to offer. The commission model promotes broader parishioner participation in strengthening parish life and renews the call to discover what our gifts are. It is another step toward committing ourselves to faithfulness to Jesus’ command to love God and one another. Genuinely caring for our fellow parishioners and all those in need, out of respect for our covenant relationship with God, leads us to be a more welcoming community.
The Evangelization Committee has articulated: “The vision of covenant at St. Jerome Parish is that we will be responsible to each other and God by being open, welcoming, compassionate to each other, loving each other as God loves us, and doing everything we can to become a united community!” And as our pastor, Monsignor Norm Priebe, notes about our necessary commitment to the covenant, “We are strengthened to carry forward the great mission of our Church: to evangelize, to form disciples, to catechize, to engage in works of charity and justice, and to serve in the administration of the parish, to help in building up the parish community in bonds of love and service.”
A Covenant Minute
THE MEMBERS OF OUR ST. JEROME EVANGELIZATION COMMITTEE WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOU SOMETHING THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT IN OUR CATHOLIC FAITH AND WHICH WE WILL BE STUDYING IN 2012 - IT IS THE COVENANT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GOD AND US! SO, WE'D LIKE TO PRESENT PERIODICALLY A BRIEF MESSAGE THAT WE ARE CALLING A COVENANT MINUTE!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
February 5, 2012
This COVENANT MINUTE is being brought to you by the prophet Isaiah...Isaiah 42: 6-7, where we read:
I the Lord have called you…I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, set you as a covenant of the people, a light to the nations. To open the eyes of the blind, to bring out … those who live in darkness.
If we break this down, phrase by phrase, we find Purpose.
A Covenant Moment
cov.e.nant (kuv' e nent) n. a binding and solemn agreement between distinct parties; in the ancient Hebrew tradition, such a bond between the Lord and Israel was not considered between equal parties; the Lord, the greater of the two, entered into the bonded relationship in a free act of grace....)What might "living the Covenant" mean within our St. Jerome community? Consider:
"The ministry of the community is one of witnessing [to each other]
of reconciliation [with God and one another] (Colossians 1:22),
of granting the spirit of adoption and giving life [God's covenantal gift to us]
(Galatians 4:4; John 6),
of redemption from wickedness [thanks be to God] (Galatians 1:4).
Basic to these is the formation of community [here at St. Jerome].
The risen Christ has unified humankind in himself and reunited it to God
(2 Corinthians 5:19, Galatians 4:4),
reconciling those who had alienated themselves form the divine (Colossians 1:22).
This reconciliation also has a horizontal dimension, breaking down the walls of division
that separate people from one another [within our parish family]
(Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 2:11-16)."--Fr. Paul Bernier
* A MESSAGE ABOUT THE COVENANT AT SAINT JEROME
Dear St. Jerome Parishioner,
Did you know that Christians are in a very special relationship with God? It is the covenant relationship between God and us!
You might ask, “What is a covenant and why is it special?”
A covenant is basically when two parties enter into a promised agreement, but in our covenant one of the parties is God!
Scripture tells us that the plan of God throughout eternity was to create a people all His own. A people who would “think in harmony with one another...with one accord ... and use one voice to glorify God.” (Rom. 15:5-6)
At the first Christmas the angels glorified God with one voice! That is what we wish to do at St. Jerome: Glorify God with ONE voice because we are all in this special relationship with Him together. But how?
The answer is to began to deeply understand the covenant relationship between God and us - to study it and began to let it color how we live life. But to do that consciously we must decide to take our place in the Covenant - decide to be joined together as ONE PARISH COMMUNITY determined to be of one accord and one voice!
To strengthen our participation in the mystery of the covenant with God, The Evangelization Committee has been hard at work studying it along with your Pastoral Council. We presented bookmarks as a little reminder, read a meditation at certain Masses called “a Covenant Minute”(see the back of this sheet), held a mini retreat on Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts, and a summer workshop at LMU where parish leaders came together and wrote down the ways we wish to follow this idea. Last year’s Annual Parish Meeting also dealt with ways to become a covenant parish.
In 2012 we are planning even more opportunities to live out this way of being a parish. We hope you will join us in upcoming events and will share your gifts with the parish at as we watch God’s vision from all eternity draw us closer together as ONE COVENANT PARISH united in the Body of Christ.
May God continue to bless you as you draw nearer to Him.
St. Jerome Evangelization Committee and Fr. Norman Priebe