The Catholic Church
As we explore the Gospel of Matthew and the writings of the New Testament, we discover that Jesus Christ founded a Church. This Church has four distinguishing marks. The Church is one, holy, Catholic (universal) and apostolic. The Church is composed of Christ's followers, who are a unity of persons, an assembly united in Christ. We're all part of His Body, with Jesus as the head. This Church is made up of sinners, but She is spotless. This Church is visible (Matt 5:14-15; 18:17), yet has invisible and supernatural components as well. This Church professes the same faith, worships in the same way through the Sacred Liturgy, celebrates the Sacraments together and looks to the Magisterium (the pope in union with the bishops) for guidance.
God's saving plan
Since God created us in His "image" and "likeness" (Gen 1:26-27), He's always desired to be in an intimate relationship with us. Unfortunately, our sin has produced a rift in this relationship with our Father. God in His infinite goodness and mercy had a plan to save us from our brokeness. The Father sent His only Son, Jesus Christ to be incarnate and live among us. He was crucified, died and rose again in order to have power over sin, Satan and death. In laying down His life for us, we were given the gift of eternal life, including salvation. It's up to each of us to respond to Jesus' free gift of grace. We must reciprocate by saying yes to Him: repenting of our sins and believing in Him. We must also be baptized and live in a way that glories our Creator. Will you say yes to His saving plan for you?
The Catholic way embraces the whole truth of this Good News. Ultimately, it leads to the deepest relationship with the Blessed Trinity (Father, Son & Holy Spirit), into the very heart of God. The Catholic faith should also pull us into the Church, God's family.
A dismissal: The Mass
It's interesting to note that the Sacred Liturgy gets its name from the very words spoken at its conclusion: Ite missa est. These words in Latin mean "Go, it is sent." What is sent? The Church, the Gospel, the family of God is sent into the corners of our communities. Empowered by the Eucharist, we're meant to bring Jesus to others through our words and actions.
Each Sunday, the Lord's Day, we gather as a community at Mass to listen to the Word of God and share in the breaking of the bread. This is our Catholic worship and at its center is the Eucharist. We believe the Eucharist is the Real Presence of Jesus Christ: This is My Body...this is My Blood... do this in memory of Me (Lk 22:19-20). We believe from the earliest days in our Church the words of consecration were said at the Eucharistic meal, the breaking of the bread. The words of consecration at the Mass, where the priest is acting in the person of Christ, change -- not merely change, but convert one thing into another: the moment bread ceases to be bread, it becomes Jesus' Body; and the moment wine ceases to be wine, it becomes His Blood. This is truly a mystery and it takes faith to accept what happens on altars throughout our world virtually each hour of every day.
We welcome guests, including non-Catholics, to visit our churches, attend Mass, visit our Adoration chapel, engage in fellowships and the like. If you do attend Mass, we ask guests who are not yet members of the Catholic Church to refrain from receiving Holy Communion. You may either remain in your place or come forward with your arms folded in an X over your chest to receive a blessing.
How do I become Catholic?
If you find yourself interested in learning more about the beauty of the Catholic faith, we have a Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program in our parishes, which is used to prepare those interested in conversion a place to discover if the Catholic Tradition of the Christian life is for them or not. At no stage of discernment or exploration would you feel pressured in any way to become Catholic. On the contrary, you should freely seek the Living God as you investigate what the Church teaches.
Becoming Catholic requires two things: Receiving instruction in addition to participating in the Mass. Those who start on this path can begin with one or the other, but sufficient education and regular worship attendance are required before you can become a full member of the Catholic faith.
If you would like more information about becoming Catholic or learn more about our RCIA program, please contact either Lucy Ziman at firstname.lastname@example.org or Greg Solfanelli at email@example.com.