THE SOLEMNITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE
State of the Parish Address
“Corpus Christi, have I told you lately that I love you??”
The First Sunday in Advent (November 29) marks the beginning of a new Church year. Once in a while, it’s good to step back and take a long view—perhaps more now than ever. The long view is our Why, What, and How. Jesus has given us the Why and the What; in partnership with him, Corpus Christi has designed a How. The How is what is unique and distinctive about Corpus Christi. The Why, What and How are important because they continue to provide a clear pathway for our parish family as we navigate through these unprecedented times and beyond. So, what’s our Why, What, and How? I’m glad you asked.
I have said a number of times during this pandemic that we must keep our eyes focused on what is permanent and unchanging. For us it’s both God’s Eternal Word, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), and the Church he founded and died for. Think about it for a moment. This is the Church that holds the fullness of the faith and teaches with uncompromising authority on moral matters. This is the Church that serves as steward of the Eucharist and the other sacraments. This is the Church that blessedly preserves and everywhere promotes devotion to our Savior’s Blessed Mother and the saints. The Church is God’s family and the only thing on earth that will last forever. It is quite simply the hope of the world. And so, we stand on solid ground.
Along with God’s Eternal Word Jesus Christ and the Church, what will be unchanging about Corpus Christi parish in the months and years ahead is our Mission and Strategy. It’s our Why, What, and How.
So, we begin with our mission. Here’s the good news. Jesus has done the work. He was very clear about the mission and purpose of the Church. He gave us our why. Done!
The mission of the Church is both the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
The Great Commandment
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind (worship). This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself (connect, serve). The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” (Matthew 22: 37-40)
The Great Commission
“Go (proclaim), therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit (connect), teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you (grow)” (Matthew 28: 19-20).
Corpus Christi’s motto is A great commitment to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission will grow a great Church.
That’s it. That is our why. Simply put, our mission is to make disciples, or followers, of Jesus Christ.
What we do is, Love God (Worship). Love Others (Connect). Grow. Serve. Proclaim. It’s Corpus Christi’s Mission Statement. Jesus gave us the why and lived the what. We do what we do so that we can bring his love and ours to others.
Jesus gave his Church the finest compliment known; he left the how to us. Our Bishop, Kevin Vann, has entrusted each pastor to determine the how for the faith community that he has been commissioned to serve. As a pastor this is where the adventure and fun began. After a few years of trying different things—it was all an education—the how emerged.
So, what’s our how?
Think of a pathway. Here in Aliso Viejo there are many pathways. A pathway inspires direction and movement. The clear pathway that I have chosen for Corpus Christi, and one that we have been traveling on since Sunday, March 11, 2018, is the Purpose Driven Parish Model (PDPM).
Let me be clear, the Purpose Driven Parish Model (PDPM) is a methodology, not a theology. All that we believe, all that we hold dear, and all that we love about the Catholic Church remains perfectly in place right here in the home the Lord has built us.
So, what is it? The Purpose Driven Parish Model is a way for us to focus our efforts to ensure that we’re moving forward as a parish family and are doing all that Jesus taught his Church to do in the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
Elements of the Purpose Driven Parish Model may already be familiar to you:
- Our weekend experience—Mass—which we want to be both a spiritually and emotionally fulfilling experience drawing us closer to the Lord and to one another.
- Our foundational classes known as CLASS 101, 201, 301, & 401. These are designed to lead people to further their growth in spiritual maturity.
- CLASS 101 centers on what it means to be a member of Corpus Christi and our four core values that determine how we live, and move, and have our being as God’s family.
- CLASS 201 focuses on five spiritual habits so that one may grow in spiritual maturity.
- CLASS 301 helps participants discover their God-given SHAPE to serve in ministry at the church.
- CLASS 401 prepares people to share the Good News about Jesus.
- Our small faith groups, where we meet other Catholics for fellowship, spiritual growth, encouragement, and support in one’s Christian walk.
- Our 40 Days, a time for spiritual renewal. We look forward to the day when we will be able to gather as the Body of Christ.
Our adaptation of the Purpose Driven Parish Model here at Corpus Christi does not in any way change who we are or what we believe. Rather, it provides a solid foundation on which to stand on and ensures that we carry out what Jesus commanded and commissioned up to do as we heed the voice of Blessed Junipero Serra the founder of the California missions, “Always Forward.”
As we navigate through these unprecedented times together, I’m reminded of what my pastor Monsignor Michael Collins would often say to me as a young person growing up, “Lad, keep the faith.”
Let’s “keep the faith” and pray for one another.
My blessing is to be your pastor, now and for all that is to come!