[COLUMN] On the solemn Feast of the Holy Trinity

It has been three years since our parish council, staff members, and I collaborated to craft our parish’s vision and mission statements. The process of formulating them was deliberate, requiring prayerful consideration, discernment guided by the Holy Spirit, and in-depth discussions on our parish’s history, demographics, values, needs, and priorities. I am confident that we have created compelling statements that authentically mirror our values, aspirations, and desires. As these statements are shared in our church bulletin every Sunday, I encourage you to not only remember them but also to share them with others.

I wish to direct our attention to our vision statement:

“Joyful, welcoming, and faith-filled, we are the Body of Christ on a journey towards eternal life with God.”

This statement is succinct and easily memorable, and I hope that we all internalize and embody its essence. My aspiration is for every group and ministry within the parish to exemplify this vision through their actions.

Upon reflection, it becomes apparent that this vision is dynamic and proactive, aimed at fostering a warm, cohesive community dedicated to deepening our understanding of the Catholic faith. It is more than just a creed; it is a directive for us to actively manifest our true identity.

It is crucial to revisit, contemplate, embrace, and propagate this parish vision statement, particularly as we observe the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity this Sunday. Let us recognize that the Holy Trinity is not simply a doctrinal concept but a relational truth. As Fr. Ronald Ronheiser aptly states in his weekly reflection on Sunday Gospel, In Exile, “God is not primarily a set of beliefs, doctrines, or abstract ideas that demand our intellectual assent. God is a living network of relationships, a Trinity, a familial source of life which we can step into, experience, embody, and allow to flow through us.”

Friends, this exemplifies our commitment to our faith in God and the practice of our Christian Catholic beliefs. We aspire not only to comprehend and acknowledge our faith but also to live it out joyfully, inclusively, and faithfully as a unified Body of Christ in our collective journey.

Our overarching vision is to extend God’s love to all, cultivate forgiveness, and nurture relationships among the community.

In this context, with reference to the Scripture passage proclaiming “God is love,” Fr. Ron Rolheiser posits an alternative rendering: “God is community, family, parish, friendship, and hospitality. Those who embody these virtues abide in God, and God abides in them. God is a trinity, a flow of relationships among persons. If this is true, and scripture assures us that it is, then the realities of dealing with each other in community, at the dinner table, over a bottle of wine or an argument, not to mention the simple giving and receiving of hospitality, are not pure, secular experiences but the stuff of church, the place where the life of God flows through us.”

Wishing everyone abundant blessings of love, peace, unity, and joy!

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.


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