Each time I visit Rome, I am powerfully reminded of the universal character of the Church. As I walk the streets of this city, reminiscing of my time spent here as a student priest, I am always struck at the diversity of cultures, languages and races that one encounters.
We often speak of the church as universal, but many times this observation remains solely a concept. When one walks through Rome, or stands in the square of Saint Peter’s Basilica, you can see the truth that the Church includes every nation, land and people. It is truly awesome to see that the Mystical Body of Christ has extended to every corner of the world.
In a world that is growing more polarized and divided, I believe that we have an obligation as Catholic Christians to deepen our ecclesial unity of faith on the local level. How else can we show the world the value of unity, if we do not live our own unity in a real and compelling way? This challenge is not meant only for the universal church. Rather, you and I must try to deepen the unity of our parishes, schools and Diocese.
For example, if your parish enjoys the beauty of diverse cultures and languages, how intentional are we to help parishioners know each other and deepen their unity with one another? How do we effectively celebrate our diversity? Are we working to avoid leaving our communities isolated from one another in the same parish? How open are we to learn the religious devotions of fellow parishioners who come from different backgrounds, allowing their experience to enrich ours?
While the unity and diversity of the Church is powerfully evident here in Rome, I was reminded this morning that unity begins at home. It starts in our parishes and schools, in your heart and mine.
The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos!