Persons, places and things: We are the body of Christ

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By Barb Arland-Fye
Readings from the first Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians for Jan. 23 and 30 feel like balm for the soul at this time and place in our culture and our Catholic Church.

Paul reminds us in 1 Cor. 12:12-30 (Third Sunday in Ordinary Time) that we are one body, though with many parts. “God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. …If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.”

We hear in 1 Cor. 12:31-13:13 (my favorite Scripture), “If I speak in human and angelic tongues, but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. … Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

These passages belong on sticky notes on my laptop, bathroom mirror and refrigerator as a reminder to practice their instruction in my daily encounters with people I know and don’t know. In my work/ministry as editor of The Catholic Messenger, opportunities present themselves often to engage with readers passionate about their faith and their understanding about what it means to live as faithful Catholics in the world we inhabit.

The last two years have been tough on all of us, and I, just like everyone else, need to take into consideration the burdens someone else may be experiencing before casting judgment on their actions or behavior.

These thoughts come to mind as my staff and I begin promotion of our annual all-household subscription drive for The Catholic Messenger, the weekly diocesan publication of the Diocese of Davenport. We understand that Catholics come in different shapes, sizes, colors and life experiences that shape their faith. The great Irish writer James Joyce supposedly said about the Church, “Here comes everybody!” That quote resonates with me, because that is the way I feel about our Church.

However, writer David Mills wrote in Aleteia, an online publication that offers a Christian vision of the world, Joyce “apparently didn’t say it about the Church, but it’s a great line anyway. ‘Everybody’ includes the odd, eccentric, and difficult, the clueless, the awkward, the annoying, the frustrating and embarrassing….”

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OK, I confess to fitting any one of those adjectives on occasion. The point here is that we are each, unique, vital parts of the same body of Christ. Our staff — Anne Marie Amacher, Tony Forlini, Duane Freund, Phil Hart, Lindsay Steele and myself —take to heart the trust placed in us to share the story of the Catholic Church with the people of this diocese.

Five of the six of us have been Messenger staff members for eight years or more. Duane, our newcomer of four months, seems like he’s been a part of our team as long as the rest of us. We probably should include “Leo,” Anne Marie’s cat who regularly posts on his “mom’s” Facebook page when we have been working from home during this ongoing pandemic. Leo’s posts provide the sense of humor I need; laughter truly is the best medicine!

This week’s special issue has been a labor of love that began long before your print or e-edition arrived in your physical mailbox or your computer’s email in-box. We selected stories, columns and photos that we hope inform, educate and inspire the body of Christ in our diocese. We are grateful to be a part of you.
(Contact Editor Barb Arland-Fye at arland-fye@davenportdiocese.org)


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