by Kenneth Remedios
NORTH ARABIAN VICARIATE, MARCH 24, 2014: To mark the 75th anniversary of the first church in the Northern Arabian vicariate, the Parish of St. Therese organized a series of talks by Fr. Franco Pereira sdb in the months of February and March. The talks dealt with the Four Marks of the Church namely, One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic as found in the ‘I Believe’. “Very inspiring, motivating and encouraging” is how Catechist Aquila Colaco described the four-part series delivered by Fr. Franco, her description echoed the sentiments of many.
This year (2014) was declared as the “Year of the Church” for the vicariate by their bishop, Bishop Camilo Ballin in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the first church built in the northern Arabian Vicariate. Fr. Franco’s talks couldn’t have been more apt as he beautifully highlighted how the Church is One because the Holy Trinity, its source, is One.
God is the origin of the Church, Jesus Christ its Foundation and the Holy Spirit, its mission giver. To realize the mission of being ‘priest, prophet and King’ the Church needs governance. Hence, the Faithful of Christ comprise of Hierarchy; Pope, Cardinals, Bishops and Clergy, then Consecrated Life and finally the Laity. These 3 groups don’t compete with each other; rather they complete each other.
A new understanding of the Church emerged as four symbols were used to present the Church as; Sheep of God, Field cultivated by God, Building of God and Bride of Christ and Mother to all Christians. Furthermore, a deeper appreciation of the Church was cultivated through five beautiful biblical images for the Church, namely; People of God, Body of Christ, Bride of Christ, Temple of the Holy Spirit, and Sacrament of God’s love and salvation.Fr. Franco beautifully explained the Four Marks of the Church.
All Catholics should feel blessed to be part of the Catholic Church and stay in communion with the Holy Father. Fr. Franco pointed out that one concrete way of being in spiritual union with the Holy Father in Rome is to be in communion with their own bishop.