Church is a community of people and the name given to the place where they gather. Parish is a territory, established by Church law regularly called Canon law. We are free to attend any church, feeling part of the community wherever we go; but we are required by Church law to be registered in a parish, otherwise we cannot request Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Marriage.
Feel welcome in the House of God, able to be in the church building or by sharing the prayer from around the parish, country, the world: we are God’s people. You are asked to register with St Joseph’s parish if you live here in our area of Leicester. Church is with whom you pray and you should feel welcome to pray with everyone around the world, but parish registration gives you rights from the bishop and his officials, curia, committees. Do claim those rights and the responsibilities that they include. Giving and being given are like a contract.
These are the legal requirements of our Nottingham Diocese and the Catholic Church but I am aware that there are many who come to the church, pray with us, give and help in various ways, at mass and in our community life. They are one with us and are also included in this request and invited to complete a registration form.
Come, feel at home, feel welcome. We belong together, listening to and learning from one another. How difficult that can be. I give you examples:
(1) Whose voice do you prefer when thinking of and praying for the child in the womb? Choose Jeremiah and Isaac “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”, “In your mother’s womb I called you by name”, or the pro-choice voices like President Joe Biden’s legislating for abortion even up to a moment before the birth.
(2) Whose voice finds echo in your heart: supremacy of race or colour or caste – or conciliation and the joy of being one human family?
(3) At the Paschal Meal/Last Supper when Jesus had given his sacramental body and blood to the families he said “Do this in memory of me.” Was everyone present included? Jesus makes no exception. It seems a divine command and the women are included. Explain the Church’s teaching which seems not to follow the divine command.
(4) My friend says “I have a lot of questions for God. I lost my job and family within a short space of time. Where is the life in this?” How do we answer such pain? Will you help me to answer?
The world seems to be shaping itself in new ways, above all by wonderful communication, and the children seem to understand. This is the only world they know. Isaiah said “A little child shall lead them”, and it is coming true.
God is asking us to accept responsibility in every area of life on earth. Do not be afraid. We can do it as all past generations have done. It is now our turn.
God bless us to be, not only Christians but also, other Christs,
(23rd April 2023)