Many years ago (28) after the synod of bishops met to reflect on the role of the laity in the Church, Pope Saint John Paul II wrote, “the parish is not principally a structure, a territory, or a building, but rather, “the family of God, a fellowship affair with a unifying spirit,” “ a familial and welcoming home,” the “community of faithful”. Plainly and simply, the parish is founded on a theological reality, because it is a Eucharistic Community. This means that the parish is a community properly suited for celebrating the Eucharist, the living source for its upbuilding and the sacramental bond of its being in full communion with the whole Church.” Elsewhere the late Pope wrote, “one way of renewing parishes, especially urgent for parishes in large cities, might be to consider the parish as a community of communities and movements.”
Our parish of St Thomas of Canterbury, Burgate, Canterbury is definitely a community of communities. There is the 6pm Saturday night community, and the various Sunday Masses communities. We also have those who come to the Syro-Malabar Mass once a month,and are part of the Syro-Malabar community. There are those who come to the Polish Mass once a month and there are those who come to the Filipino Mass when it is celebrated. We also have the community who worship every Sunday at the Franciscan International Study Centre. I know these are not exclusive and people move in and out of these communities . This year we have the opportunity to gather as one community celebrating one Eucharist, the living source of our upbuilding and unity. We are having this one Mass in the Dane John Gardens at 10:30am on Sunday 3rd July. We will be the Catholic community in Canterbury united in prayer with all those of other churches who share one faith in Christ. May we be truly a missionary community holding in prayer all those who struggle with faith and are searching, the sick and housebound, the poor and lonely. After Mass we will share and eat our picnic lunch together and there will be games for the children. Bring a friend with you. It is the start of a special week for us, because on Thursday 7th we have once again have been given permission to celebrate Mass in the Cathedral on the Feast of the Translation of the body of St Thomas a Becket at 8pm. I would like to thank all those who have given their time and talents to help organise the open air Mass co ordinated by Fr Valentine. Pray for fine weather but bring an umbrella just in case!