Over the past year, the diocese planned Regional Ministry Gatherings, Diocesan Ministry Day and other events under the theme of baptism.
As the inaugural theme was developing, we decided to begin where we all start in the Church, in the waters of baptism. We’ve spent the year in prayer and formation together, reflecting on where we are called in our communities and how we have been prepared to do those callings, rooted in our baptism.
Now that we have the foundation of a baptismal theme, we move to Eucharist for the next two years: “One Body: Gathered, Nourished, Sent.” Typically, the second of three sacraments of initiation we receive in the church (baptism, Eucharist and confirmation), Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith and our lives as Christians (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324). We celebrate the Eucharist as a community, together sharing in God’s most holy sacrifice. We do not celebrate this as individuals — we are the one body of Christ.
Each Sunday, with the opportunity daily, we gather for Mass. This is not a personal prayer but a liturgical celebration of all, “the sacrament of unity.” “It is the whole community, the Body of Christ united with its Head, that celebrates.” (CCC 1140). For me personally, the communities I have been a part of are often one of the greatest parts of my faith life. When I enter the deserts of my personal prayer life and faith, it has been the people around me who remind me of God’s presence in my life through their love, caring and prayer. Our gathering is not just coincidence or convenience, but at the essence of who we are as the Church.
In what ways has your community reflected God to you lately?
In this celebration, we are nourished by the Eucharist. We eat food in our daily lives to sustain us. We receive the Eucharist in a similar way, to maintain our close relationship with God. And what a gift this is for us, to be given the opportunity to receive Jesus not just as a symbol or reminder, but to actually receive Jesus into us to nourish and sustain our lives.
In what moments in your life do you look to this nourishment the most?
At the conclusion of Mass, we are sent forth to share the Gospel and to bring the Eucharist into the world. At one time, the Church was dismissed with the words “Ite, missa est,” meaning — “Go, the Church has been sent.” It is not enough to come together and receive the Eucharist, Mass does not end with those concluding words. Instead, they are a reminder of why we gather. We are being nourished by God to live out the mission of the Church.
Where do you feel sent to share God’s love and the Church’s mission?
Over the next two years, we will again be planning Regional Ministry Gatherings that are focused on Area Catholic Community needs and other events for parish leaders. We invite you to join us for these events, to be nourished by the community and ongoing formation, and to be sent forth after to share what you have gained with your communities.
Bailey Ziegler was the co-chair of the 2019 Diocesan Ministry Day and is the lead coordinator of the Regional Ministry Gatherings. She also serves as director of human resources for the Diocese of St. Cloud