Who Are We?

I have been writing a pamphlet for new parishioners. We have been growing at a pretty nice clip of late, and I wanted to have something that I can hand to them that will give visitors some insight as to who we are. I have used, as my guide, this statement that was created through suggestions from our congregation.

St John Vianney is an authentic, faith filled traditional community that is committed to welcoming all to the Catholic Church through education, service, fellowship and worship.

SJV Parishioners

I have always said, we must know who we are in order to grow as a community. So here is a line by line breakout of the above statement.

We are authentic. We preach the gospel at St John Vianney. God’s Word will not be ignored nor soft peddled, we will preach God’s Word no matter who it offends. Why are we so adamant about this? The Gospel is God’s Word. Modern times has brought a culture that thinks they can chart their own course, do what they wish, make their own decisions not only on what they will be but also who they will be. Gender fluidity, homosexuality, ramped sexual promiscuity, abortion, disappearing human rights, and inadequate ethics; these are but a few of societal problems we see. These sins stem from a deadly pride that has humanity re-writing God’s Word. This pressing issue can only be combatted with God’s authentic Word.

We are faith filled. We are a church that believes in God. We believe in Jesus, the only Son of God. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the counsellor. We believe in the Triune God, and furthermore we believe this One true God is the only way in which we can be saved. We show forth this faith through works. Our works are shown in charity. Charity is rightly seen as helping the poor, but we also show our faith through charity in how we treat each other. We try our best to treat each other with respect, always putting others feelings before our own. We are a community in Christ at SJV, and Christ taught us to love one another. We do our best to imitate Christ in all His teachings, especially showing ultimate charity in how we treat our fellow parishioners.

We are traditional. The Ordinariate was formed out of the patrimony of the Anglican movement. Anglicanism was schismatic, and at times even heretical. However, the Church has found within Anglicanism a patrimony, that which is of God. Pope Benedict XVI brought those elements out of Anglicanism and into the Catholic Church and ensconced them in the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter. We are a traditional expression of the Catholic faith. Most who come to us from the Ordinary Rite of the Catholic Church are seeking a more traditional mass than the one St. Pope Paul VI created. For the Sunday mass and the Saturday vigil, our clergy is canonically bound to use Divine Worship. On the weekdays we also use Divine Worship. It may be different as opposed to the mass many cradle Catholics are used to, but give it time and the profound beauty of the liturgy will become clear.

We are committed to welcoming. The Ordinariate was created to welcome Anglicans home to the Catholic Church. We likewise welcome the un-churched to the Catholic Church. Bringing the un-churched and Anglicans to the Catholic Faith is why we are in existence. The pastoral provision was created by St John Paul II, and still exists to allow Anglican clergy a path to ordination and service within the Ordinary Rite. If we were here simply to be “another” catholic Church, we would be superfluous. The Ordinariate is focused on proselytizing Anglicans and those who have strayed from Christ, enticing them to come back to the Church. We do welcome cradle Catholics also, with the knowledge that we are a missionary church focused on bringing our non-Catholic brethren back home.

Lastly, we are teachers and servants. It has been said many times that Ordinariate clergy excel in preaching and teaching. This is God equipping us for a purpose, the purpose I spoke of in the previous paragraph, to save souls. The Ordinariate focuses on methods to gather both the faithful and unchurched together and educating them in the faith. This is done through fellowship and service. Fellowship and service provide an excellent conduit by which we can bring people to the faith. These two elements provide presence in the community, it’s the best advertising we can hope for. Through fellowship and service we get to know our community. Once they get to know us, we can then invite them to get to know Christ through the Catholic faith.

As we grow, we will see St John Vianney through many changes. Hymns, mass settings, furnishings, and vestments may change, but we should never lose sight of who we are and why we are in existence.

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