Welcome to St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church
Listen to Fr. John Barry's welcome message and explanation of the Catholic faith.
Hi this is Fr. John Barry. Like this christian story-teller and musician writes, we need to know that we live in a life that is God-breathed, God-inspired, God-with-us. That is the Catholic faith. We believe it is a faith around the world that was founded by Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. In His death and resurrection and ascension to glory something new happens and then from the right hand of the Father Almighty the Eternal Son sends his Spirit to the world to bring to men and women and children the ability to become children of God; sons and daughters of the Most High. To become believers. To become temples of the Holy Spirit. So we live this life as a new people. This is the Catholic faith for two thousand years plus - or the third millennium - once we crossed into the year 2000, we entered into the third millennium of Christianity. And that Christianity in its beginning is the Catholic faith.
I've been sitting around listening to christian music this afternoon and pondering the christian message and glad that it is out there also as pop music. But the main message of Christ comes though His Gospel and through the epistles of Paul and Peter and other Apostles and various writings of the Church and the message of the saints. We have a rich tradition of faith we continue to sing out the message; to ring out the message to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord! That Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the head of the body - the Church - and that body is who we are. We are joined to Christ and His sacraments. Especially in Baptism and through the Holy Eucharist we are given a life that is spiritual. We are body and spirit people but we are meant to live in the Spirit; to be led in the Spirit; and God is meant to nourish and feed our faith to grow up into maturity of being His body - Christ's body. He is the head of the body, the Church as St. Paul said. And we ourselves as Catholics see then that Christ has called us into Himself, to live with Him, through Him, by Him. And we say that in the Mass. We say "through Him, with Him, and in Him. In the unity of the Holy Spirit" and we pray and present ourselves to the Father, "in the unity of the Holy Spirit all glory and honor is Yours Almighty Father, forever and ever".
So, being Catholic is presenting ourselves in the sacrifice of Christ and the salvation of Christ, anointed in the Spirit. We are the sacrament of God. As the Church, we are His vessel. We are meant to be possessed by the Lord inside and we all come together with our various ways of living in Christ - glorifying Christ in our families, our work, and our relationships and even our encounters with strangers. We present that life every Sunday or Saturday Vigil Mass to God and say "Here we are. We are Your people. We are Your Church and we present our lives to you." We also come for mercy. We know we are still sinners and we fall short of Your glory and perfection Lord, but put Your life in us and keep changing us until you call us home and complete Your work.
The Catholic faith at St. Edward the Confessor church is through the Apostle of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Archbishop of Washington. We are part of, then, the Church of Washington. There are at least 140 parishes that are part of the Apostle's faith family. So this family in Bowie, was started in the 1970s and the Catholic presence was in Bowie long before that in other parishes but we came about. Our parish mission statement says this of ourselves - and its on the top of every parish bulletin, the mission statement of who we are as a community of believers - we say "We are a family of faith-filled disciples, empowered by the Holy Spirit, living the gospel through worship and service." We see ourselves as a family. We are a small enough parish that it naturally has that family feel. We believe that we are called to faith; that God inspires faith in us to live differently as followers of Jesus Christ. So, we are disciples of Him and live in that discipline of Catholic faith and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
How do we get there? We get there empowered by the Holy Spirit. We are sons and daughters of the Lord only by what the Spirit breathes and inspires in us. So, we live humbly asking God for His Holiness. It is not found through our own merits and goodness. It is found in what God inspires and makes in us. We are image of God, we are made in His likeness so God sees us basically as good. But, that sin problem has to get wiped out. By the Spirit of God, His Grace can accomplish that.
What do we do for salvation? We come and we worship the Lord in the Sunday assembly especially. In the book of Hebrews it says, "Let us not neglect gathering together for this assembly, this service and being together." As the Word teaches, we gather in the Sunday assembly, the Sunday worship, the Lord's day is very important to us. We have 4 masses for your convenience on the weekend: Saturday night mass at 5:30, Sunday at 7:30, 9:30 mid-morning, and 11:30 on Sundays. Now and then we have a special mass on Sunday afternoon or evening for different groups.
We pray that through the ministries the Church has - whether it is feeding the poor or helping with pregnancy life centers or other outreach - we pray our service will glorify the Lord. Especially though that we will just live the Christian life wherever we go. That by being members of Christ for one another at St. Edwards, that that can empower us to live the Light who is Christ when we get outside the church.
So, that's our parish and when you come in through the door, we pray that you will find a welcome. We try to have people at the doors saying hello to you - especially if you come in through the front or east entrance doors - to have someone there just to say hello. And at the beginning of Mass, even before we start the song, we stand up and shake hands with those around us. If you are new, we'd ask you to identify yourself to the person saying "Hey, I'm new here." Even when you come in and meet one of the ushers or greeters at the door, you may want to say "Hey I'm new." Let us know you came - not just to those you met - but to myself, the pastor here. Send a message. We have a website and email. Send a message to say "Hey I came" and tell us what you thought. We want you to find Christ here - that's what we are doing here.
I'm assigned here as an archdiocese priest of Washington. I am a priest of at least 2 decades under the service of the Catholic Church in Washington. I also happen to have grown up in this town when I was a young lad. So, I am happy to be back.
This is Fr. John Barry saying thank you for visiting us at St. Edwards, for coming to the website and taking a look around. When you come to the church, say hello and I'll be glad to welcome you, in the name of the Lord.