As we prepare to move into Area Catholic Communities, there are 3 virtues to keep in mind,
The partnership of parishes is not like some kind of business partnership where each is looking out for itself. Parishes are Christian communities who look to Jesus as our model and guide. While the parishes are equal partners, it is impossible to achieve equality in all things. Sometimes one parish will give more, sometimes the other. It is like any good human relationship. If the parishioners in a partnership start keeping score, everyone loses. Christian Charity is about putting others first.
It is a natural human tendency to want to stay with what is familiar and comfortable. As followers of Christ, however, we sometimes have to go beyond our comfort zone for our own good and the good of the wider Church. Parish Partnerships require that we be open to doing things differently. Naturally there will be some trials and some errors. These are normal. The real danger is a negativity that is always looking for problems rather than nurturing a positive openness to new possibilities.
We all want what is best for our parishes and for the Church. We may have good faith disagreements as to the best way to proceed, but we always need to respect the good will that we share. A spirit of good will breeds respectful dialogue and provides a way to proceed together.
What will WE pass on to the next generation?