“Global awareness” and “Global Solidarity.” Sometime in your life I hope you have had a chance to travel outside the United States and go to other countries. We do this for a variety of reasons, (i.e. for a vacation, to learn more about our family of origin or in some cases just to encounter other people and other cultures.) These are all good reasons to travel. Sure, “there is no place like home,” as Dorothy says in the Wizard of Oz, but unless we go to other places our vision and our understanding of other people in other countries can be very limited. You can’t see the whole world through a single lens.
“Parochialism” is a term we use to describe certain groups of people who behave in such a way that they are stuck in their own way of thinking and who are only interested in protecting their own interests! This can happen to any of us if we don’t make a conscious decision and attempt to reach out to others. It’s a phenomena that can happen even to certain dioceses and even parishes where nothing is shared and no one wants to step outside themselves to work together with other parishes or dioceses.
One of the strengths of being a ‘twinned parish’ here at St. Peter and St. Paul is that it broadens our understanding of parish and church. It reminds us that ‘church’ is not just a building or geographical location but a sharing of our gifts and talents and the common bond of faith we have in Jesus Christ. This is true no matter who we are or where we come from. This is why our sister parish of St. Peter in Oyugis, Kenya is so important to our understanding of what it means to be Catholic and Church. The great thing about a ‘sister parish’ relationship is that it helps us understand how other people live out their Roman Catholic Faith in Christ. Here we discover the many similarities which bind us, and yet the many differences from which we can both learn. Mission is never just one sided; it’s about encountering Christ in other peoples and on so many levels of our faith.
This said, I am happy to announce that in March of 2019 there will be a delegation from our diocese traveling to the Homa Bay Diocese in Kenya and visiting our own sister parish in Oyugis. Our own Patty Zimmerman has agreed to represent us in our relationship with Homa Bay and in Oyugis. Patty will be traveling with a group of other people within our diocese to enrich our partnership as we walk together in Christ. She will be representing us! Hopefully, she will also have an opportunity (when she returns) to tell us her story and her experience.
I encourage all of us to pray for Patty as she prepares for this journey and also to think of ways we can help through our prayer and our finances as she will have to pay for a large portion of travel and living expense. Maybe some of our Christian Women’s Groups or K.C’s or even our whole twinned parish community can get involved and help support her in this. If you have any questions or would like to personally be involved you might get in touch with our Sister Parish Committee headed up by Jan Hoelscher at: 320-253-1779 or you may also contact our Diocese Mission office headed by Beth Neville for more information on this. In the meantime, lets continue to pray for our sister parish and for our diocesan delegation, that they will have a spiritually fruitful and enriching trip and experience!