Pope Francis has reminded us that “the parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory, an environment for hearing God’s word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration. In all its activities the parish encourages and trains its members to be evangelizers. It is a community of communities, a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey, and a centre of constant missionary outreach.”
With these words of our holy father, our parish acknowledges anew that we have the joy, the privilege, and the responsibility to be the presence of the Church within Peoria’s Historic South Side. A parish within this given territory willed by God to be a spiritual oasis within this part of the world’s vast spiritual desert.
Here, in this place, all of the thirsty are welcomed to come and to drink from the fountain that is Christ. Here, the poor are made rich. Here, the Father’s children are welcomed and find a home.
Because here, in this place, we also learn to take the initiative and take the first step towards the material and spiritual poor.