By Bertha Melendres
Connecting Faith and Life
Recently, at one of the meetings we held for the Office of Hispanic Ministry, we did an activity that opened my eyes to what a blessing it is to live and work in our diocese. We shared how our faith is shaped by our roots: where we were born and how we were brought up. The journey of our lives has taken us along different roads, but we are all part of a “Universal”— Catholic —Church.
The activity was called “Roots and Journeys.” As we shared our faith journey, we each placed post-it notes on a world globe to indicate the key places that made a difference in our lives. It amazed me to hear that literally half of us in this small gathering were born outside the United States, in places like Bolivia, India, Kenya, Guatemala and Mexico. Some journeys had taken people to several places around the world. On the other hand, others had been born, raised and stayed close to home most of their lives, contributing to making our diocese what it is today. And, by welcoming the stranger into their own home, they helped those whose journeys had been elsewhere to also make this diocese their home.
No matter how similar or different our roots and journeys were, we were all in the same room, called by the same Lord, brought together by the same faith, and longing to serve and embrace everyone regardless of their roots and journeys.
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 173), St. Irenaeus of Lyons, a witness of this faith, declared: “Indeed, the Church, though scattered throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, having received the faith from the apostles and their disciples … guards [this preaching and faith] with care, as dwelling in but a single house, and similarly believes as if having but one soul and a single heart, and preaches, teaches, and hands on this faith with a unanimous voice, as if possessing only one mouth.”
I clearly see how this is true today, just as it has been for many in the past and will continue to be in the future. Even if we are in faraway lands, or speak different languages, or live out our faith with different customs, Our Lord has given us the same gift Catholic faith. We all hold dear to our hearts the same teachings, just as we all do our best to be a meaningful link in this wonderful chain of the faithful that extends to heaven, where we hope to all be united for eternity. No matter where our roots were first planted, or what direction our journeys have taken us, we are all connected and essential in God’s plan and vision for the world.