Christian Community: The Foundation of Discipleship (Building A Better Disciple Part Three)

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Director of Catechetical Services, Diocese of Springfield in Illinois Originally from Kansas City Married, 6 (+1) children www.JonathanFSullivan.com Jonathan F. Sullivan

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Who are you?

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This series will not just be “information delivery” More personal, reflective Opportunities to respond – so please participate! A few reminders…

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10/13: Jesus 10/20: Scripture & Tradition 10/27: Christian Community 11/3: Liturgy & Prayer 11/10: Vocation & Mission Overview

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What is a Community?

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Holy Trinity Exemplifies Community 3 Persons 1 God United in perfect love

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“All men form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God create to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all men against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city which is illumined by the glory of God…” Notra Aetate (Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions), no. 1

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“As they become familiar with the Christian way of life and are helped by the example and support of sponsors, godparents, and the entire Christian community, the catechumens learn to turn more readily to God in prayer, to bear witness to the faith, in all things to keep their hopes set on Christ, to follow supernatural inspiration in the deeds, and to practice love for neighbor, even at the cost of self-renunciation.” Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), no. 75

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Who showed you what it means to be a Christian by their practice of the faith?

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The Domestic Church

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“The Christian family constitutes a specific revelation and realization of ecclesial communion, and for this reason too it can and should be called ‘the domestic Church.’" (Familiaris Consortio, no. 21)

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“In the union of husband and wife you give a sign of Christ’s loving gift of grace, so that the Sacrament we celebrate might draw us back more deeply into the wondrous design of your love.” Preface, Mass for the Celebration of Marriage Matrimony Models Christ’s union with the Church

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More than “schooling” Formation of the whole person Practice of the Virtues Learning reconciliation Education of Children

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How has your family helped you grow in faith? How have they been a “domestic Church” in your life?

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The Parish Community

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“The parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory, an environment for hearing God’s word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration. In all its activities the parish encourages and trains its members to be evangelizers. It is a community of communities, a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey, and a centre of constant missionary outreach.” Pope Francis Evangelii Gaudium, no. 28

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Proclaim God’s Word Grow Disciples Perform the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy Pray Together Worship Put another way…

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Parishes are places where disciples of Jesus Christ come together to do the things disciples do.

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Parishes are places where disciples of Jesus Christ come together to do the things disciples do.

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“We must recognize that if part of our baptized people lack a sense of belonging to the Church, this is also due to certain structures and the occasionally unwelcoming atmosphere of some of our parishes and communities, or to a bureaucratic way of dealing with problems. In many places an administrative approach prevails over a pastoral approach, as does a concentration on administering the sacraments apart from other forms of evangelization.” Pope Francis Evangelii Gaudium, no. 63

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Landscape with the Parable of the Sower Pieter Brueghel the Elder

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Is your parish a place where “disciples come together?” If so, how? If not, what could be done to make it such a place?

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Christians and the Culture

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Affirmative Orthodoxy Term coined by John Allen in 2008 “[A] tenacious defense of the core elements of classic Catholic doctrine, but presented in a relentlessly positive key.” Image by arimorre / FlickrCC

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Affirmative Orthodoxy “Christianity, Catholicism, isn’t a collection of prohibitions: it’s a positive option. It’s very important that we look at it again because this idea has almost completely disappeared today. We’ve heard so much about what is not allowed that now it’s time to say: we have a positive idea to offer.” Pope Benedict XVI, 2006

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Affirmative Orthodoxy Not about soft-peddling “difficult teachings” Emphasis on the positive, affirmation Joy as charism of New Evangelization

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Who do you know that is an example of a joyful Christian? How can you live this type of faith publicly?

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Video and slides available tomorrow at bit.ly/BetterDisciple

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