Fourth Sunday of Easter

Dear Parishioners…Since we are asked to pray for vocations, especially for priestly vocations on this Good Shepherd Sunday, I thought I would include some excerpts from the catechism on the vocation of the laity and religious life, since we are all in this together, each of us fulfilling some aspect of God’s plan for all of us and his will for each of us.  God bless you in the work he has given you to do.  Peace, Father Mike.

          900 Since, like all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they have the right and duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth.  This duty is the more pressing when it is only through them that men can hear the Gospel and know Christ.  Their activity in ecclesial communities is so necessary that, for the most part, the apostolate of the pastors cannot be fully effective without it.433

          901 “Hence the laity, dedicated as they are to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvelously called and prepared so that even richer fruits of the Spirit may be produced in them.  For all their works, prayers, and apostolic undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body, if they are accomplished in the Spirit – indeed even the hardships of life if patiently born – all these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  In the celebration of the Eucharist these may most fittingly be offered to the Father along with the body of the Lord.  And so, worshipping everywhere by their holy actions, the laity consecrate the world itself to God, everywhere offering worship by the holiness of their lives.”434

          902 In a very special way, parents share in the office of sanctifying “by leading a conjugal life in the Christian spirit and by seeing to the Christian education of their children.”435

          925 Religious life was born in the East during the first centuries of Christianity.  Lived within institutes canonically erected by the Church, it is distinguished from other forms of consecrated life by its liturgical character, public profession of the evangelical counsels, fraternal life led in common, and witness given to the union of Christ with the Church.466

          926 Religious life derives from the mystery of the Church.  It is a gift she has received from her Lord, a gift she offers as a stable way of life to the faithful called by God to profess the counsels.  Thus, the Church can both show forth Christ and acknowledge herself to be the Savior’s bride.  Religious life in its various forms is called to signify the very charity of God in the language of our time.

                                                                                                  Fr. Michael Phillippino
                                                                                          SaintJohnChurchMiddletown.com

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