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What can I do for my parish?

We know that the apostles did not have an easy time when they began to form the Church. It was their love for the Cross and the grace of the Holy Spirit that kept them firm in spreading the faith in the first Christian communities. We also know that these first communities were characterized because they met to listen to the teachings of the apostles, to participate in the fraction and to share their goods (Acts of the Apostles 2, 42-47).

But the success of these first communities was not only thanks to the action of the apostles, but of the entire community, where everyone played an active role. Precisely because in God’s plan we all contribute; or do you think it would have been enough for those who listened to Peter to retransmit the words of Jesus to remain still? Or, that after eating the Bread of Life they would have only returned home? Probably not!

Then, should not we all take that role of helping in the mission of our Christian community, of our parish? The historical contexts of today are different from those of 2,000 years ago, but even today we continue to work very hard to spread our faith. We can do it from the parish, she needs us more than we think.

If knowing this worries you or have been listening to that call for a while, but out of fear, prejudice or distrust in yourself you have not done so, I present these 4 tips:

1. Pray

As always start with God, although He wants you to serve in his kingdom, it is only He who can tell you in what way. Maybe you already do it with a particular mission, and He wants to leave you there, maybe he loves you in the parish, or maybe both! Only by asking for light in prayer will you discover it. Prayer will also help you to give up those typical initial fears: not giving up your time, to do it badly and to pass embarrassments. Hey! Jeremiah, Moses or even Jesus himself just before his passion had those fears. It was precisely prayer that animated him.

2. Discover yourself

If you do not know how to help, because you think you have no gift, let me remind you something: “to each one is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor 12, 7). Since you have something to contribute in the parish, you have it. And if you do not know it now, you’ll know at some point. Did Peter know how good he was to lead? No, he discovered it right after he started his mission.

Convince yourself of something: God can do much through you, no matter what it is (a sweet voice or the arpeggio of a guitar in the parish choir, the beautiful flower arrangements, good economic management or pastoral service). The parish is not only the parish priest, but also lay faithful who support it.

3. Talk to your pastor

Your pastor has been trained to detect the needs (Continues on page 3)

of your parish and work on them. He is the one who can accompany you the most in your discernment process. Unless he knows you, if you do not approach him, he will never guess that you want to help. When you talk to him, explain your intention, tell him about yourself, your attitudes and abilities. At the end of the day: “Plans fail when they are not consulted, and they are achieved when there are councilors” (Proverbs 15, 22). Pray also for him, so that God may enlighten him in the advice he gives you.

4. Meet the parish groups

Giving First Communion catechism to children is not the same as visiting sick people in the community. Each parish group has its mystique, sometimes different from the other communities. However, they are all part of the same objective. We can understand it according to what Paul tells us in 1 Co 12, 14-31. It is necessary that you know the reality of your parish. In addition to the opinion of your pastor, it is good that you learn by your means what each group does, when and where they meet or execute their activities, the requirements to be part of one, etc. It is essential that you know all these details to verify that you can align according to your availability.

Do not stay with the restlessness that God has put in your heart and begin to be an active member of your community. The Church is you and it is me, God will open the roads for you.

Source: Written by Alberto Acosta

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