Gathering 2: Introduction

“Saint Paul who spoke and wrote in Greek used the Greek word koinonia when speaking about the fellowship of the faithful as Christians.”

This session is focused on the word ‘Community’, a word often related to the character of a Catholic parish. The Webster Dictionary defines it as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals”. This definition at some level speaks to what we experience as a parish, but it doesn’t reach the divine intimacy that Jesus intends and invites us into as a ‘Christian’ community. This gathering will invite you to reflect, share, discuss and discover the intended experience and meaning of Community for us as Catholics at your parish.

Pew Research wrote an article in November of 2018 called “Where Americans Find Meaning In Life”. In both their closed and open questions on the survey the number one response was Family. The article states, “they are most likely to report that they find “a great deal” of meaning in life by spending time with family”[1]. Many Catholics often share their parish is like ‘family’.

To help us begin to reflect on Community in a deeper more intimate sense let us remind ourselves of how Jesus is constantly calling us to be united with Him. He wants us to grow in our understanding and experience of the Kingdom of God. In the Gospel of Matthew he says to us, ”Come to me” (Matt 11:28), St Luke in his gospel says Jesus “called his disciples to him” (Luke 6:13). In the Gospels Jesus encourages us to “Come and see” (John 1:39), “Follow me” (Matt 4:19), and “Remain in me”(John 15:4) so we may learn from Him this intimate relationship between who we are as Christians and our role for the world as community in ‘the Body of Christ’.

Jesus used the image of family much like we use the word community. He doesn’t invite us to a ‘feeling of fellowship’ but to an intimate relationship. He tells us ‘you are my brothers’(Matt 12:46). As his brothers and sisters, as his disciples, we are called to follow his example and become, as St Pope JP II has written, “the first school of the social virtues that are the animating principle of the existence and development of society itself”[2]. Our family, our faith community, is part of setting the social virtues for the development of society itself. This is an important and meaningful missionary purpose for both our community and our personal lives.

Saint Paul who spoke and wrote in Greek used the Greek word koinonia when speaking about the fellowship and community of the faithful as Christians. This word was used intentionally to draw out the deep spiritual intimate relationship we are called to have with Jesus Christ. This session begins to guide your heart into this ‘koinonia’ which should define the true meaning of fellowship and community at a parish. Let us now begin by reflecting on the words of Saint Paul as he speaks to the Romans as being ‘one body in Christ’ (Rm 12:4).


[1] Pew Research, Nov 20, 2018 https://www.pewforum.org/2018/11/20/where-americans-find-meaning-in-life/

[2] St. Pope John Paul II, Familiaris Consorti, 42

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