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February 22, 2009

A Social Component of Faith
                                    
     Many of us have had the opportunity to visit family and friends who live in other towns or cities thus they belong to other parishes.  No doubt you noticed that many of these parishes have various organizations.  The number and the type of organizations are often largely dependent on the size and possibly the age of the parishioners.  There is no use having an organization that will not have a sufficient number of people who wish to belong.  Belonging, of course, very often involves the elements of time and commitment.

    Some of the more popular groups in parish life are the Knights of Columbus, the Ladies Guild, the Ladies of St. Anne, or the Men of St. Joseph and many others.  They are all faith based and all have a spiritual dimension.  Almost without exception, they also all have a social dimension.   They usually celebrate various occasions especially Christmas and perhaps St. Patrick’s Day, St. Anne’s Feast or St. Joseph’s Day.  This is always done with a dinner or a party, sometimes couples with a prayer service of sort.

    You may have noticed in your travels that many if not most parishes have other outlets for social interaction such as Coffee and Donuts after weekend liturgies or occasional pancake breakfast etc.  These gatherings give parishioners the opportunity to meet other members of the parish or simply socialize with people they have known for many years but don’t often have the opportunity to see otherwise. 

    As human beings, we are hard wired to be social.  We have been created for one another.  We seek the comfort of family and friends, co-workers and neighbors.  We may not appreciate all people to the same degree but we all need people.

    As people of faith, we are also people who have been created for the other.  We need others and they need us.  We should never underestimate the gift of ourselves for others.   Some of us have a comforting smile, others have a gentle manner, others have a good listening ear and still others are amusing, always ready with a joke or jest that will bring a smile to the most serious bystander.  All of these gifts are important and should never be taken for granted.

    It is for this reason that many parishes make an effort to include social activities.  Since it is inappropriate to use the time of the liturgy to socialize, we must make an effort to have other opportunities to do so.  In order to have such opportunities a parish needs people who are ready to give a little time to the organization and well being of a Social Committee.  Although this may seem peripheral to our faith, in essence it is vital.  It is in socializing with others who share our faith that our own faith is nourished.  When we receive the Eucharist we say Amen to the words Body of Christ.  We must always remember that we, too, are the Body of Christ.  Are we willing to be there for one another?
   
    This week, let us take some time to reflect on our own responsibility in faith.

                            Lorette P. Nault