Welcome all visitors and inquirers to St. Edward the Confessor Church—a Roman Catholic parish in Bowie.
Do you have 5 minutes just to wonder about some higher things? If so, read on!
While it’s not openly mentioned or conversed about in everyday life, it is real that people often think: "Why am I here? Where am I going? What is the meaning of me and of what life is all about? Is my perception right that Something/Someone much greater than I is out there, or right under my nose, that holds the key to understanding the “whole ball of wax?” Is the Love I seek and want to embrace and share in life all in a relationship to this Higher Way or Power, the One called God?”
Such questions are real and normal for any person. There are answers to receive.
The ultimate search for meaning, love, purpose and for inspired living is the common thread to our human experience. Our answer and fulfillment of the search will involve an outreach to the Divine and a reaching out to live in union with other people in what we find. We also must permit ourselves to look deep within. Our soul is thirsting.
Someone asked a spiritual mentor: “Am I looking for God? Or is God looking for me?” The mentor grinned and answered “Yes to both!” After a long pause, it was added: “Yet the latter has been taking place for quite a longer time. Take the path to HIM. HE is there.”
Yes. You are looking for something more of a connection to God in your life. You do have a belief in the Divine, but do also need a more intimate and a more communal way to celebrate God as here among us. You are hearing a call to The Church, to join the Body of believers in The Lord Jesus Christ. You are hearing “Christ, the Head of the Body, the church” calling you to come into relationship with Him in this Way to God. Christ has a body of believers in which He inhabits and shares His God-in-the-flesh Self.
At Christmas we hear the Bible verse: “The Word Who is God became flesh and dwelt among us… the glory of the Only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Christmas lives. Christ Jesus lives. He is come to abide in His people on earth. He desires to live in you and I in one body of faith, His own body, as called The Church.
We preach Jesus as your God-connection. He has a home for you here in His Church.
God has come among us in Jesus Christ. You have heard the basic history and testimonies of His life among us, and you know that Christmas is a celebration of His birth among us, and that Easter is a celebration of His Rising for us as our confirmed and trustworthy Savior and God/Friend.
You may know that the Lord Jesus established His Church on earth, and that the Catholic Church is that same and original one continuing on in history to today. We are the people of Christmas and Easter and of many Sundays and holy days of encounter and celebration of Jesus. We have a modern successor to St. Peter, the first pope, to shepherd the flock of the Lord. He is Pope Francis. We have modern day apostles, the Catholic bishops, who are in the same unbroken line of consecration as those first ones of whom Jesus chose for His own service. We are mostly a communion of people gathered in God’s Spirit into one faith and one baptism into the Saving Life of Jesus, who seek the Lord and His Way, Truth and New Life for humanity. We live by Word (the Scriptures) and by Sacrament (e.g. Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, others) and in a Sacred Tradition of following Our Lord as the Body of Christ since A.D. 33.
Jesus said: “a new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another” and He also said: “I am the Vine, you are the branches, so abide (remain) in Me, and I will in you.” These verses from John’s Gospel of Jesus can define “being Church” in a nutshell. We live in a shared family of faith, all in one with everyone who has put faith in Him in what Jesus revealed for us to do. We are Catholic, meaning universal. We are One, meaning united through generations. We are Holy, meaning we live in being as receivers of Grace from God. We are apostolic, meaning we go back to the apostles and first people who believed the Good News and followed Jesus, and we have that message of a new life to share as in a Living Lord, Head of the body, the church.
Take a little time to ponder His invitation.
The four pillars of what I just shared are what makes for the Apostle’s Creed—a defining statement of the Catholic Church and who we are and have been from the start. “We believe in God, the Father Almighty…and in Jesus Christ, His Son, our Lord… we believe in the Holy Spirit….and in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, with communion of saints, forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.”
God has intended in the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Holy Spirit shared in follow up to Jesus’ coming, to offer us a treasure of faith and love. Our souls and this experience as His Body, His temple, the church, helps us to receive it in on our end. God gives; we receive.
The greatest treasure we Catholics have is our faith -- our friendship with God. We would like to share more about that faith with you. If you are looking for a faith community or even just a start to it all, we invite you to come to St. Edward the Confessor Parish, 1940 Mitchellville Road, Bowie, MD.
Come to eventually celebrate the Eucharist, our central form of worship, as we unite fully in Jesus Christ, in that appointed way He left for us to meet and abide in Him. He set this all up at the Last Supper, the famous last night in earthly ministry, before The Cross and Resurrection events. It is His gift for communing with Him, in the faithful. Like those at the Last Supper got to experience. Then, later, as the First Church expressed in her first Masses, and has continued on to today. For the one not yet Catholic or in the Eucharist yet, we have classes and personal sharing to make of how we meet our God in this way, and how you may best do so, too.
The Bible has a famous prayer book called the Psalms. A line from it is shared here for the invitation we would like for you to hear from God.
Come and worship the Lord, for we are His people, the flock that He shepherds
The LORD is our God, and He loves us and desires friendship with us again, fully, by means of His mercy, in Jesus Whom He has sent to offer it. Now we can let our inner being just radiate with our participation with God and give the due worship to the One Who has given us life, Who will give us meaning and love and all we ultimately desire, Who can bring the soul alive. So, again, ponder this verse as a call to respond to God:
Come and worship the Lord, for we are His people, the flock that He shepherds
Getting into Praise of God will lift us up from within. The Spirit of God supplies us with inspiration for this. We also need to approach God Almighty in His Son, Whom He has sent among us for this reconciliation. We need to be offered to the Father in Him, by Him, through Him, with Him, and together in His Body. This is a key revelation that the Catholic Faith has held and has been practicing since our start, Pentecost Day, 33 A.D.—or you could say leading back through the Last Supper, and the ministry of Jesus, and to His Birth and arrival to the earth, to be God with us. Isaiah the prophet foretold it all: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel—which means, God with us.” Is. 7:14
So it is time to receive this Sign. The Sign is Jesus. Another word for sign is Sacrament. It indicates the participation with the Divine. God is come in Jesus for us to participate in our rescue. He is your sign.
Mary took Jesus into her arms that First Christmas. She welcomed the Savior.
You can take Jesus into your heart anew this Christmas, too. Let your open arms and heart be your “yes” to God. Let your soul be His crib, His home. The straw in the crib shall be yours and my actions, so humble, to show welcome to the Lord in so lowly a place as our souls. Yet God wants to come anyway. Praise to Him! Oh, what Love!
If you take it further along, as we do nearing Holy Week to Easter, then we look to receive Jesus in all manner of worthiness as Sacrament to us in the Blessed Eucharist. It is our Yes to be Lord of all, and in our own mind, body, soul, spirit and strength.
When God will take it even higher, He will call us to the Blessed Wedding Supper of the Lamb, when we, as Bride and Body of Christ, pray to sit down with Him at table in Heaven, as the finish of the Bible gives us as our hope.
Are you interested in becoming Catholic?
R.C.I.A. is the program for an adult person to become Catholic, who currently is not. The three sacraments of initiation are Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation. We prepare persons in a weekly class for reception of them all at Easter 2017.
If a person is already baptized, and converting from a Christian denomination church to our catholic church, then they receive the other two sacraments at the Easter Vigil, upon finishing R.C.I.A.
We hold a class on various Saturday mornings from late September through April, to teach and discuss the basics of the catholic faith. It is held at 9:00-10:40am and led by Fr. Barry and with guest speakers, along with a video program to watch, and books to read.
If interested, then call Fr. Barry at St. Edward Rectory at 301-249-9199 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.