Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We don’t often think about it, but when we speak of the Catholic Church, we use the word “catholic” which comes from the Greek for “universal.” Something revolutionary about our faith in Christ is that it was destined for all peoples. While the Jewish faith was cultural and tribal, limited by bloodline, Christ came to expand the covenant between God and man to all. He came to save all nations, and his message of mercy and love is still certainly something everyone can understand and everyone longs for.
This central reality of our faith, then, has led to an incredible richness. The Catholic religion has become a movement that can integrate every culture, and has done so in almost every corner of the world, as we see local Churches develop with their own traditions and cus- toms united under the pope. Further, and often to our surprise, we find that many customs have been adopted from non-Christian cultures, like the Christmas tree and Easter eggs. We have a truly universal faith, and it could be argued that this is one of our great strengths, as it is capable of seeing the seeds of the Gospel in many cultures, and can “christen” good cus- toms, showing how they point to Christ.
We are particularly blessed here in our parish, as we find ourselves in a truly diverse community. We have members from many nations around the world, and this blessing allows for a great opportunity to learn and grow. Each culture uses different forms and expressions of the faith, and encountering them, our minds can often be opened in new ways. Even just look- ing at Our Blessed Mother, her titles from each nation give us insight into the many ways she guides and protects us.
So we come together next week for a multicultural celebration here at Notre Dame. We will be joined by Bishop Andrzej Zglejszewski (a native of Poland) at the 5PM Mass, and will head over to the Auditorium for food, desserts, and entertainment from 14 different countries. As we prepare for Lent, it will be an early Mardi Gras celebration where we enjoy before the fast begins. It’s not too late to volunteer to help out if you are interested, but I hope to see everyone there!
Yours in Christ,