A Parish Vision of Hope and Ministry – Week 1

by Fr. Joe
09/08/13

A Parish Vision of Hope and Ministry

Superheroes for Christ – Week 1

A Vision of Hope

“May the whole of ministry be on a missionary key. We must come out of ourselves and grow in boldness.” Pope Francis
Our parish begins casting a vision of Hope and ministry this weekend. During the next several weeks, the theme of Christian Hope grounded in Scripture and Church teaching will incorporate popular cultural images to draw our fuller participation in God’s Sacred Mission.

God is our Hope

Our parish patron, St. Philip, recognized Jesus Christ as Hope for all in this life and in the next. Jesus plainly addresses Philip and each one of us about the active role that we are invited to play in continuing Christ’s mission of Hope on earth. “In all truth I tell you, whoever believes in me will perform the same works that I do myself, and will perform even greater works” (John 14:12 ). St. Paul boldly professes, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

If these statements of beliefs seem a bit much, perhaps our expectations of what God is desiring to do in our lives needs to be expanded. We are invited by God to be people of Hope. Hope is trust, confidence, and optimism in what God promises. Hope transforms us by opening us to possibilities. Hope bestows the gifts of peace and joy, even in difficult circumstances, because the very Spirit of God is alive and active in us as our eternal source of encouragement. Hope is a gift of the Spirit already present in us through Baptism.

Pope Benedict XVI writes in Spe Salvi, “The one who has Hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of the new life.”

We are Hope for Each Other

God empowers us with every gift and sends us forth each day to be Hope for each other in our every word and deed. God’s power at work in us is for others and is given to be shared in faith with heroic love. The growth of faith and love is explained by Pope Benedict XVI in Porta Fidei, “faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy. It makes us fruitful because it expands our hearts in hope and enables us to bear life-giving witness” (7). Service and ministry are the paths of hope.

Superheroes for Christ

The stories and images of Superheroes capture interest because we secretly wish to be Superheroes. The good news is that we are Superheroes when defined in the following way: Superhero – an individual entrusted with a heroic mission and granted superpowers to carry out their noble work.

In Baptism we are entrusted with Christ’s own heroic mission to discover our spiritual power through service to others in ministry. We are gifted to serve others and granted the grace to carry out the noble work of love through social action. We are Superheroes for Christ sharing in earthly ministry on a heavenly mission.

Secular Symbol/Sacred Meaning

One of the most recognizable cultural icons of a Superhero is S. To keep boldly mindful of our divine mission we have altered slightly this superhero symbol by changing the color to our St. Philip the Apostle gold and green. We have given the S a spiritual meaning.

Spesis the Latin word for Hope. Hence, S will be used as our symbol for Christian hope during our thematic discussions and presentations. The logo below has layers of meaning.

Spes in Latin = Hope
Spirituality, Service, Social

Invitations

Participate as a receiver and giver of Hope through weekly Eucharist, bulletin reflections and prayer activity suggestions as we continue our program during the following week.

Explore the animated and musical Presentation entitled “A Parish Vision of Hope and Ministry – Superheroes for Christ” created by Fr. Joe and Fr. Jared on our website: www.stphilip.org

Spirit Wear:

T-shirts with our Superhero logo and message of hope are available for a $10 purchase after Mass. All ages are invited to wear our Spirit Wear at the parish picnic as a sign of celebration and solidarity.

Weekend Scripture Reflection

The book of Wisdom reminds us that wisdom is a super gift of the Holy Spirit that helps us to see and choose our best path with God’s counsel. St. Paul writes from prison not with regret or bitterness but rather sends his companion to the community in service with a heart full of heroic love. The Gospel assures us that our powers are given not just for our own family, friends or community but for all people. We may encounter conflicts between who needs our attention and help most. Superheroes for Christ face the challenge of calculating the cost of discipleship even as we celebrate the privilege of serving God’s people in ministry.

Reflection Questions

  1. What does Hope mean for me?
  2. How has my vision of Hope changed?
  3. How is God my Hope?
  4. How am I Hope for others?
  5. What “superpower” or gift does God bless me with?

Prayerful Activity

Remember that all gifts, talents and powers are given by God for a purpose. True humility is recognizing God gifts and using them properly. God is our hope. God invites us to be hope for each other.

Identify one gift/talent/superpower and decide how to share it this week. Take action. Thank God for the opportunity to share in God’s mission as a Superhero for Christ.

Daily Prayer

God of hope, bring forth in us such joy and peace in our faith
that the power of the Holy Spirit will enable us to act
with heroic love in an abundant life.
Romans 15:13

Fr.Joe