175 years is a long time, too long for us to really relate to as most of us will be lucky to reach half of that in our lifetimes. And I think it is good to considerour faith and our parish in that type of timeframe, since it isn’t just for us as individuals, or even just for us as our current community, but a gift God has given us to treasure, to build, and to pass on to those who will come after.
Back in 2012 those of you who were here were able to celebrate the 100th anniversary of our church building. That is old enough in itself, and being a physical structure it can be easier to relate to, considering these bricks and windows have been here for so many years. But the parish is even more than
Can. 515 – 1. A parish is a definite community of the Christian faithful established on a stable basis within a particular church (diocese);
175 years seems pretty stable, and yet we realize stable doesn’t mean without change. The location of our church building has changed, the borders of our parish have changed as many other parishes have broken off of us, the individuals who make up our ‘community of Christian faithful’ have changed, the environment around us has changed, even just in the years any one of us have been here we can hopefully see that we, as individuals, have changed. We need to change, since without change we cannot grow. But as we change it is important to stay rooted firmly in the truth Christ showed us, in how God created us, and to grow in the right direction. Hopefully we can see how our parish helps us to do that, and how we help our parish to do that.
That is what celebrating an anniversary is to help us to do. To remember back the traditions and things that have stayed the same, the things that are important to stay firmly rooted in. But also to look at the changes. Not just growing from our good efforts and works, but also recognizing how God helps us to grow through our mistakes, our conflicts, and our failures. Realizing our need for one another, our need for God.
As the world around us has changed so much over these last 175 years, and yet God has stayed the same, and this community has been here to help one another to live out our faith. May we continue this community, to keep it a strong place where those in the years to come will continue to find a stable place they can call their parish, and grow closer to Christ.