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Many images of the Church

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Next Sunday is Pentecost – happy birthday to our community of the Church!  This feast invites us to think about the contributions of the late Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ and his Models of the Church which he offered in light of Vatican II.

For those unfamiliar with these important models the Jesuit theologian, inspired by the documents of the Second Vatican Council, offered images of the Church, how it is made visible, and how it lives out its mission. Those images are:

Institution = formal organization with structure of governance (constitution, leadership, forms of discipline and public worship);

Mystical Communion =  an inner communion of spiritual life (faith, hope, and charity) taking on flesh through profession of faith, discipline, and sacramental life;

Sacrament = a sign of intimate union between God and the human race (a visible sign);  

Herald = the Church, formed by the word of God, goes forth to proclaim the Gospel; 

Servant = we offer ourselves as agents of the Gospel as we address freedom, justice, peace, compassion, and reconciliation;  

Community of Disciples = considering the five other models/images, the Church becomes the “supermodel” by making Christ in the world by highlighting the strengths of each of these models. 

Two key principles need to be considered here.  First, with each model comes a set of strengths and challenges. The second principle is knowing that no model exists without the others.  Whether as a priest, a deacon, or any baptized person of the Church, it is our common call to bear joyful witness as we identify with each of these beautiful images.  

As we offer our perennial prayer for renewal in the Church on this Solemnity of Pentecost, let us pray that we, the members of the Body of Christ, examine our personal sense of missionary discipleship through the lens of each model. 

Added to this year’s celebration will be the ordination anniversaries of Father Hollis (50 years of priesthood), Deacon Bill Merriman, and Deacon Bill Staab (each deacon celebrating 25 years of the permanent diaconate).  Please join us next Sunday at the 11:00am Mass as we pray for these special servants and thank God for their 100 years of faithful service!

Come Holy Spirit!

Fr. Gurnick