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SAINT BARNABAS PARISH COVENANT

Whereas COVENANT expresses our love for God and for each other,

describes a relationship that is deeper than a contractual obligation,

 and is the model of Christ’s relationship with us in the Eucharist,

the people of St. Barnabas Parish enter into this covenant with one another:

We celebrate the source and summit of our identity and unity through active participation in the Eucharist and the sacramental life of the Church.

We welcome and value all people—regardless of age, physical appearance, race, religious affiliation, ethnicity, gender or economic background.

We are empowered through baptism to use our different gifts and talents for the benefit of the larger community.

We accept the responsibility and privilege to continue the work of Christ in helping and caring for the sick, grieving, hungry, thirsty and imprisoned within our community and beyond.

We reverence the sacred value of human life and of all God’s creation, and seek ways to witness our Christian love and challenge injustice in our parish, our neighborhood, and in the world.

We commit to the education and religious formation of our children, and providing opportunities for growth to all individuals and age groups to share in the rich life and faith of our parish.

We enjoy gathering socially in celebration of our faith, family, and friendship.

We believe in the importance of stewardship, and accept the responsibility to support St. Barnabas Parish with our time, talent, and treasure.



The St. Barnabas Parish Covenant is a summary of our commitment to each other as God’s holy people and members of this parish family. Parishioners are asked each Pentecost to reaffirm their commitment to one another.  The paragraphs below explore the meaning of the covenant promises in a little more depth.

 

We celebrate the source and summit of our identity and unity
through active participation in the Eucharist and the sacramental life of the Church.

Jesus is the center of all we are and all we do. We are fed, nourished and strengthened to do the work of Jesus through the Eucharist and sacraments. Gathering together each weekend to celebrate the Eucharist fosters our identity as a faith community committed to following the teachings of Jesus. We stand for something! We believe in an awesome God higher than ourselves and we express this every time we gather together in prayer and worship.

Gathering together each weekend to celebrate the Eucharist unifies us as children of God because we are reminded of God’s love for us and our unity with one another. There are no divisions among us in the eyes of God. We are all God’s beloved children. When we gather at the table of the Lord we celebrate that we are all one and that we need each other.

Gathering together each weekend to celebrate the Eucharist provides us with the nourishment, strength and support we need to continue the mission of Jesus in our everyday lives. Participating in the Eucharist and the sacramental life of the church refreshes our minds, heals our hearts and feeds our souls. It focuses us and keeps us centered on what is really important in our lives. We are enlightened and challenged by God’s word, nourished by Jesus’ body and blood, empowered by the Holy Spirit, transformed by God’s grace and strengthened and supported by one another. (Kitty Ryan)
 

We welcome and value all people—regardless of age,
physical appearance, race, religious affiliation, ethnicity, gender or economic background.

St. Barnabas is a welcoming and hospitable community of faith. We are enriched by the diversity of race, ethnic heritage, and religious expression of all those who live in this remarkable neighborhood. We are blessed by those who choose to worship with us, and share the gifts God has given us. God’s face is clearly visible in every man, woman, and child. When we work, live, play and pray together, we build community. When we share each other’s joy, or huddle together in times of sadness, we more closely resemble the Body of Christ. (Marie Ruff)
 

We are empowered through baptism to use
our different gifts and talents for the benefit of the larger community.


Growing up my mom had a small white and blue plastic baptismal font hanging just to the left of our back and front doors.  It held no more than a ¼ cup of holy water she collected from the font at church each week.  She would encourage me and my eleven siblings to bless ourselves as we left the house, to remind us that we are, personally and to the world, children of God. It is Baptism that makes us members of the Body of Christ, and members of this generous, gifted, compassionate, and loving parish family of St. Barnabas.

In Baptism the Holy Spirit calls us to share Christ's mission.  We are called to be “Somebody!” We are not here by accident, but by God’s choosing. We have been called and given the power, grace, talent, and resources to be living signs of God’s Kingdom here on earth. How often do we ask ourselves, “What part of the Kingdom am I building right now, today?” I think Baptism and Confirmation make all the difference in my life, inspiring me to be a contributing part in building the kingdom of God today, at this moment, in my parish. (Maryellen Harrington)
 

We accept the responsibility and privilege to continue the work of Christ in helping and caring
for the sick, grieving, hungry, thirsty, and imprisoned within our community and beyond.

“How many times do I have to tell you?” Is that a familiar echo or call from our childhood? Parents, repeatedly, telling us to respond to their particular request.

The consistent call to be involved in creating justice for the poor is as essential and non-negotiable within the spiritual life, as is Jesus' commandment to pray. This teaching of Jesus is consistent throughout all of the gospels. In the Christian scriptures, one out of every ten lines deals directly with the physically poor and the call from God to take care of them. In the Gospel of Luke it is in every sixth line, and in the Epistle of James, that commission is there in one form or another in every fifth line.

The call to justice in the Jewish scriptures is the one truth that is central to their teaching. The quality of faith depends upon the character of justice, and that is to be judged by how we treat the most vulnerable groups in our society, viz., widows, orphans, and strangers. Jesus never disputes that. He takes it further. He identifies his own presence with the poor. How we treat them is how we treat God and what will determine our future.

This is not a new teaching, but our understanding of it has deepened and our spiritual maturity, widened. Our care for the weakest members of our society lies at the very heart of the gospel and is a non-negotiable pillar within Christian spirituality. (Fr. Gene Smith)
 

We reverence the sacred value of human life and of all God’s creation,
and seek ways to witness our Christian love and challenge injustice
 in our parish, our neighborhood, and in the world.

Sensitive to the signs of the times, we seek ways to witness to Reverence for Life by challenging  patterns of living or laws that threaten respect for the sacredness of life. We hold fast to the truth that all human life is sacred;  from life’s  first moment until God calls us to share in  eternal life. Parish groups, as well as individuals, are active in outreach and care so that all of life is sustained. We work for systemic change wherever life is threatened. 

To seek Justice is at the heart of our tradition. Catholic Social Teaching states:  “By our labor we are unfolding the creator’s work and contributing to the realization of God’s plan on earth.” In our “Fair Trade Action,” (e.g. coffee and chocolate) we set out to educate ourselves.  Some key elements are: fair wages, workplaces where workers and their rights are respected and the management of local resources that are sustainable.

In experiences like the recent “Earth Day” at St. Barnabas School, we strive to model and teach our young people to share the earth’s resources in a spirit of communion with the  larger world. We seek to be mindful that we use, hold and dispose of material goods with an awareness of the needs of all people.  We educate ourselves so we might change habits of living that that upset or destroy the balance in nature.  This is but a hint at what is possible when we take to heart,  “Reverence Life!”  (Sr. Julie Flynn, OP)
 

We commit to the education and religious formation of our children,
and to provide opportunities for all individuals and age groups
to share in the rich life and faith of our parish.

If the celebration of the Eucharist is the “hub” of the life of St. Barnabas, the our commitment to the education and on-going formation of all our parishioners, young and old, is a major “spoke” of our wheel of our parish life. “By giving witness to the Gospel, living communal charity, and actively celebrating the mysteries of Christ, the Christian community is an excellent school of Christian formation for the people who live in it.” (from the National Catechetical Directory)

For 83 years the people of St. Barnabas have invested significant human and financial resources in our parish school and religious education program, because we believe in the effectiveness of Catholic education. But deepening one’s faith and friendship with Christ is not just for children. Each of us has been endowed with a love for learning, a joy for living, and an important role in the building of God’s Kingdom. Opportunities to satisfy our hunger to learn and grow must be available to everyone in our parish. May God bless the work of our minds, hands, and hearts! (Fr.Bill Malloy)
 

We enjoy gathering socially in celebration of our faith, family, and friendship.

Of all the things that St. Barnabas parish does well, celebrating our faith, family and friendship in a social atmosphere may well be at the top of the list. It is an integral part of our parish life. Isn’t that what life is all about? Recreation means to “re-create.” Setting aside time to play and to enjoy the fruits of our labor recreates our energy and invigorates our spirit.  The celebration of faith, family, and friendship is interwoven. Our faith is rooted in God and shared with our family and our friendships are rooted in this faith. For example, an event in our family life, such as an illness, may deepen our awareness of our faith connection through the outpouring of support of meals, assistance, etc. Whether you are on the giving end or the receiving end, this is an overwhelming experience.

This faith connection is also deepened when we gather to celebrate joyous events; Baptisms, First Communions, Graduations, Weddings, or simply spending time through impromptu gatherings with family and friends. These actions are truly a personification of the gospel values of Jesus. (Gail Byrnes)

We believe in the importance of stewardship, and accept the responsibility
to support St. Barnabas Parish with our time, talent, and treasure.

Stewardship is the responsibility of managing our God-given resources of time, talent, and treasure. It strengthens our relationship with God and our parish community. Stewardship is living out a commitment to be Christ-centered rather than self-centered and involves a conversion of the heart. Stewardship is a lifelong journey with each person at different stages as to how they will commit their time, their talent and their treasure to our community and our parish. As Peter the Apostle wrote:

Be hospitable to one another without complaining. As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. 1 Peter 4:9-11

(Ed Wolf)

 

 
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