These words from the Acts of the Apostles (2:42) summarizes the life of the early Christian communities. In their daily lives, these early believers took time to learn more about the faith and the scriptures, were committed to their community, prayed and of course, gathered with other members of the community for the Eucharist. Nothing complicated or supernatural in terms of the human activity. We are told the result of all of this in verse 47: “…every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47b)
Catechesis, time with one another and caring for one another, daily prayer and the Eucharist opened their minds and hearts to the Word of God. It nourished the seeds of faith in their hearts and bore fruit in their actions. They found joy and lived joyfully, even in times of struggle. This joy was contagious and others sought to find its source.
We believe that the Lord has planted the seeds of faith in the hearts of all human beings. It creates a longing within each us for love, beauty, goodness and truth. All of these things lead us to God. The example of the early Christians gives us an example of how we can nurture this faith within us.
Benedict XVI described the main question of the Second Vatican Council as “Church, what have you to say for yourself?” (Benedict XVI, To the General Assembly of the Italian Conference, May 24, 2013). The Council sought to answer this question by going back to the roots of the Church. We need to do the same. The world is constantly changing, hence the call of the Council to continually “read the signs of the times” (Guadium et Spes #4), not to change the teaching, but to learn how to engage the culture with the words of the Gospel.
We cannot share what we haven’t received. (God is Love #7). So for any meaningful growth to occur among the people of God at the parish level, we need to return to our basics, to see how this occurs. Acts 2:42 provides that answer.
We believe that a flourishing Catholic Community at UMass Dartmouth will result in a flourishing and stronger UMass Dartmouth community overall.