Many of our families are ecumenical. This means that we have immediate family members and/or relatives who belong to other Christian faith communities. Opportunities for non-Catholic persons who have been baptized in other Christian traditions to explore the Catholic Faith are to be offered at both St. Mary and at Resurrection Parishes. The contact person at St. Mary Parish is Judy Pompei. She can be reached at 419-589-3585. The contact person at Resurrection Parish is Sherry Stockmaster. Her phone number is 419-884-0060.
A matter that comes up from time to time is that of Catholic and non-Catholic Christians receiving Holy Communion together. This indeed is a goal for which we are praying and toward which we are working. At this time, Catholic priests are not free to invite non-Catholic Christians to receive Holy Communion at Masses. Catholics are asked to refrain from receiving Holy Communion in non-Catholic churches. This is not because as Roman Catholics, we believe that we are better or superior than are our non-Catholic brothers and sisters, but because there are still significant differences in beliefs and practices between the Roman Catholic Church and non-Catholic Christian traditions. All Christian traditions acknowledge that one belongs to Christ as a member of the faith community that is designated by the word, Church. One cannot be a Christian apart from identifying with some specific faith community. Sad to say, to this day, not all Christian faith communities believe and teach the same things. Significant differences stem from how Catholics and non-Catholics believe that the Lord is related to the Christian Community in an on-going way. For example, Roman Catholics believe that the Pope and the Bishops who are in communion with the Pope represent and express the Teaching Office that Christ entrusted respectively to Peter and to the other Apostles. As Roman Catholics, we are bound to accept what they teach in regard to faith and morals as coming from God. Non-Catholic Christians do not subscribe to this belief.
The Catholic understanding of the Eucharist differs in significant ways from the manner in which non-Catholics observe the Lord’s Supper. Many non-Catholic churches do not observe the Lord’s Supper on a weekly basis. Non-Catholic churches do not reserve the Blessed Sacrament. Tabernacles cannot be found in non-Catholic churches.
It’s sad that we cannot yet invite non-Catholic Christians to receive Communion at Catholic altars and that as Catholics, we are discouraged from receiving communion in non-Catholic churches. According to Catholic belief and practice, Holy Communion outwardly expresses a oneness of faith and life for all who are to receive our Lord in this distinctive way. In reality, the Roman Catholic Church and other faith communities are not yet in full communion with one another.
Let us pray for the day when essential aspects of the Christian Tradition, namely the Apostolic Teaching Office and the empowering Sacraments to which Catholics have access can be offered and favorably received by non-Catholic faith communities. From the Roman Catholic perspective, this would be a significant step toward the goal of freeing and encouraging persons from various faith traditions to receive Holy Communion together.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver - Pastor