10/19/2013 2:41:00 PM Parish assignment a lesson in faith
Catholic Sentinel photo by Jon De Bellis.
Dr. Michael Henry speaks to Rev. Mr. Tim Furlow after Mass at Madeleine.
To the Catholic Sentinel:
Being a Portland native I’ve always known that the day would come when I would be sent to a parish somewhere in the archdiocese to complete what has come to be known as a “pastoral year.” This assignment provides those of us who are on the path to priesthood with the opportunity to grow in that most fundamental of theological virtues — charity. By living in faith-filled communities and intimate relationship with the people we will, God-willing, serve for the remainder of our lives, we can put into action all the many truths we have learned in seminary.
I have been blessed to be made part of the Madeleine parish. It is a far cry from the academic life at my seminary in Rome and one that I have quickly come to cherish. Here I will serve as deacon for the next year, learning all the many aspects of ministry that can only be gleaned through personal pastoral experience.
Already, after only a few weeks I have come to learn the true meaning of “community” from my fellow parishioners. Our parish banner proudly reads, “Faith. Family. Forever.” We who are gathered into communal relationship with our Lord and each other are not merely a group agreeing upon a predetermined idea; rather we are the Mystical Body of Christ, part of His extended tangible presence in the world. And so is the reason the Church has seen fit to give her seminarians a wide array of charitable relational experiences in their training to become priests. Namely, that we might not merely learn to illuminate the edges of the straight and narrow path for others, but also walk it faithfully, arm in arm with our fellow travelers on the Way.