Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My trip of Bend Oregon and the Dedication of Holy Communion Evangelical Catholic Church

On June 6th, bolstered with several  Jack Daniels & Coke Zeros, I mustered up the courage to board Alaskan Airlines for my first trip to Oregon in nearly 50 years for the dedication of Holy Communion Evangelical Catholic Church in the city of Bend, Oregon.

The dedication of any new parish is cause for joy and celebration for any community of faith and for the Evangelical Catholic Diocese of the Northwest - this dedication was no exception.  

The conception of Holy Communion began when I was contacted by Father James Radloff who was interested in seeking clerical incardination into the Diocese of the Northwest and continuing his sacramental ministry in the Bend community.  Within a very short period of time a Pastoral Formation Team was created and the foundation for Holy Communion was in place ready to begin being built upon.  I must also say that the work of the PFT for Holy Communion will be serving as the template for bringing future parishes online.

My pastoral visit to Bend involved more than just the dedication of a new parish.  It was my obligation and responsibility to introduce the Evangelical Catholic Church to a community that had never heard of us before. While our Church continues to celebrate the historic sacramental and ecclesial roots of Catholicism, we have instituted a few pastoral reforms which needed to be explained and discussed.  I was deeply grateful for the respectful responses throughout our gathering on June 7th.

It was also my obligation and responsibility to begin establishing a trust relationship between myself and the people of Bend. Given the past history of the people of Bend with their bishops, it is important for me to earn their trust after years of past difficulties.  

Our Mass of Dedication on the Feast of Pentecost was a joyous and moving experience - with nearly 450 people in attendance

I believe that the Holy Spirit has been and shall remain strongly present with our new family in faith in Bend and I look forward to sharing that journey with them..

I wish to especially thank the Formation Committee for providing me with a most enjoyable and comfortable stay during my weekend.

I am looking forward to my next visit to Bend -  most likely via Amtrak.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Now Thank We All Our God

As I am preparing for my visit next weekend to the People of God in the community of Bend, Oregon for the formal introduction of the Evangelical Catholic Church via the establishment of Holy Communion Evangelical Catholic Church, the music and lyrics of the historic hymn "Now Thank We All Our God" keeps coming to my mind.

The creation of any new parish is a very serious and solemn commitment.  It is a tangible presence enabling the witnessing of faith and sacramental celebration of our continuing catholic journey.  It is also an oasis for those who are sacramentaly and spirituality parched from feeling separated from God's altar. For this opportunity to continue our celebration of faith, we indeed thank our God.

We must thank our God for the coming birth of Holy Communion Parish for it represents the unconditional love of God. I believe that our new parish shall be akin to a new flower in God's garden and our celebration of praise and thanksgiving shall give Him pleasure.

We know the genesis upon which our Parish has come into being.  We refuse to be spiritually or sacramentally entangled by past acts and we freely forgive the difficulties of the past. Our focus is to the future and our celebration of our catholic faith for we are, as Paul writes, "One Bread, One Body."

When celebrating Mass, I traditionally begin it by saying "We come together as God's family in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

I hope that all those in attendance with us on June 8th will respond with a loud Amen.

Please join me in thanking God for the gift of our faith, our community and for our new parish.