Editorial | Celebrate our differences in the universal Church

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The Nicene Creed.

Catholics succinctly express the profession of faith and Catholic belief in every city, in every state, in every country, hemisphere and continent on the planet.

Regardless of language and culture, the creed is the same worldwide, just as Mass and sacraments are the same between customs and traditions.

The Nicene Creed starts with a universal belief in "God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth," then a belief in "one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God ... true God from true God" and how He came down from heaven and became man "for us men and our salvation ..."

Then, we express belief in the Holy Spirit, "who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified ..."

Finally, we profess a belief that melds the eternal Trinity with the temporal reality in which we live, a belief in "one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church ..."

Of these six words, we should take heed. We're all in this together, in a universal Church, catholic with a lower-case "c," open and welcoming to all.

Regardless of our station or stage in life, our culture or language, our customs or traditions, or our native lands — the differences don't matter when it comes to our one faith, our "one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church." All Catholics are one body, and our God-given differences should be celebrated.

Vietnamese Catholics gave us an example in the joyous celebration of their culture. Living Our Faith this week tells the story in word and pictures of how the Vietnamese Catholic community at Resurrection Parish in south St. Louis celebrated Tết — the Lunar New Year, a national holiday in Vietnam.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis is blessed with numerous nationalities and cultures. In addition to Vietnamese Catholics at Resurrection, five other parishes are personal parishes, reserved for a specific nationality or culture: St. Cecilia and Our Lady of Guadalupe (Hispanic), St. Agatha (Polish), St. Joseph (Croatian) and St. Andrew Kim (Korean). Also, Masses are celebrated in six additional languages other than English: Italian at St. Ambrose; Swahili at Holy Trinity in St. Ann; Hungarian at St. Mary of Victories Chapel, Ukranian at St. Mary's Assumption, Aramaic at St. Raymond's Maronite Cathedral and Latin at five parishes. St. Cecilia and Our Lady of Guadalupe are among 12 parishes celebrating Masses in Spanish.

In addition, dynamic Masses and fabulous choirs highlight worship at predominantly African-American parishes — Most Holy Trinity, Our Lady of the Holy Cross, St. Alphonsus Ligouri, St. Augustine, St. Elizabeth Mother of John the Baptist, St. Matthew the Apostle, St. Nicholas and Sts. Teresa and Bridget.

Each parish brings a unique flavor to Catholicism, but we're one body all the same in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. And like Vietnamese Catholics, we celebrate our differences, thank God for gifts in the past year and pray for blessings in the new one. 

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