The Lafayette Catholic School System, centered on Jesus Christ, educates the whole person in a culture that is:
This is the fourth installment of a series of articles which explores the LCSS Mission. This installment discusses “Community of Faith.” (Please click on the links in the mission, above, to view the previous installments.)
The Mission of the Lafayette Catholic School System states that we are supported by a “community of faith.” But what is a “community of faith,” and why are these words important? To explore this further we need to reflect more closely on the Christian family, its function and role in the Church and in society.
A community of faith is modeled after the Christian family and in many ways is an extension of the family. Many people comment on how the Catholic schools “feel like family,” and that is no accident. We are a community that in many ways functions as a broader extension of the family.
To better understand this dynamic we should further look to what the Church has said about the Christian family. Saint John Paul II wrote in the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio that the family serves four primary tasks:
- forming a community of persons;
- serving life;
- participating in the development of society; and
- sharing in the life and mission of the Church.
Pope Francis has also commented on the role of family and its role in the Church and society. Pope Francis wrote in his address to the participants of the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council on the Family.
The first point which I would like to consider is this: the family is a community of life which has its own autonomous consistency. As Blessed John Paul II wrote in the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, the family is not merely the sum of persons belonging to it, but a “community of persons” (cf. nn. 17-18). And a community is more than the sum total of persons that belong to it. It is the place where one learns to love, it is the natural center of human life. It is made up of faces, of people who love, dialogue, make self-sacrifices for one another and defend life, especially of the most vulnerable and the weakest. One could say, without exaggeration, that the family is the driving force of the world and of history.
Pope Francis, goes on to say,
It is also necessary for us to create around us an environment that fosters and strengthens the faith of the individual. Authentic Christian life needs the support of a living community of faith and love.
So when we say in our mission that we are “supported by a community of faith,” we are referring to a “community of persons,” that is “made up of faces, of people who love, dialogue, make self-sacrifice for one another and defend life, especially of the most vulnerable and weakest.”
As such, we need to constantly be mindful that we are a community that:
- Supports the mission of the Church;
- Respects the dignity of every person;
- Is welcoming and invites others to be participants in this community of faith; and
- “creates an environment that fosters and strengthens the faith of the individual.”
These things hold true twenty-four hours a day, 7 days a week. They need to be true on the weekends, on ball fields, in the classroom, and in our everyday lives. We are a “community of faith” 24/7/365.
Pope Francis. (2013). Address of Pope Francis to Participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
Saint John Paul II. (1981). Familiaris Consortio.