Inclusion And Acceptance
One of the main emphases of Pope Francis’ 10-year pontificate has been on evangelization. A recent article in America Magazine has stated this has not been without some controversy. What is evangelization? Some would define it as bringing the truth of our doctrine to a world often at odds with it. Here, the Church often takes a counter cultural stance. For Pope Francis, evangelization begins with an encounter of mercy and love in the person of Christ. If that is not communicated first, the rest does not make sense. This has led Pope Francis to prioritize the pastoral accompaniment of individuals living in morally complicated situations. It is not that we water down our doctrine. We first need to create an environment where it can be heard and lead others closer to Christ.
This call to accompany others also arose in our parish synod sessions. Our Parish Leadership Team has been reflecting on this experience to formulate our parish priorities. The first proposed priority deals with inclusion. It states:
St. John the Baptist Catholic Community is a place of inclusion and acceptance:
a. We desire to accompany all on this journey of faith.
b. We delight in the rich diversity of cultures and traditions.
c. We recognize, respect, and are enriched by the talents and gifts of women in our Church.
At this stage in developing parish priorities, the Parish Leadership Team is seeking feedback from the other council and commissions in the parish.