St Joseph Church, Pinole - Pastor's Messages

Pastor's Messages from Father Geoffrey Baraan

 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

My dear friends in Christ,


Happy Sunday!

I hope that you are having a restful day with our God of peace and comfort!
One of the most important aspects of our faith journey is understanding our faith. That’s why we have the faith formation program. In a few weeks we will begin our Faith Formation Classes. 

Last week someone asked me about the Second Vatican Council and the significant councils of the Church. This compelled me to share with you some of the important councils that took place in the Church.

So what is a council?
In the language of the Church, a council is an official church assembly. We are not talking here about the Pastoral Council or the Finance Council. When we refer or talk about a council, historically, we are talking here about a gathering of church’s leaders, called by the appropriate bishop, to deliberate, clarify, study, and enact decrees pertaining to the life and belief of the Church.

There are various levels of the church’s council. There is the local or diocesan council. This assembly involves the local ordinary or bishop, representative clergy, religious or laity. There is also the regional or provincial council. 

This gathering draws representative from various dioceses in a particular region of the world or of particular nation. And the highest and most solemn of all is the ecumenical or general assembly. This is the assembly or gathering in which all the bishops of the world meet in union with the Bishop of Rome. 

This gathering constitutes the highest teaching authority in the Church. Usually the general assembly or ecumenical councils are called during the pivotal or critical moments in the life of the Church. 

There are twenty-one historical ecumenical councils that are recognized by the Church. Let me share with you some of the most IMPORTANT or SIGNIFICANT ones:

1. Council of Nicaea, (325). It condemned Arianism and declared the Son as both fully human and fully divine.
2. Council of Constantinople 1 (381). It condemned Macedonianism, a fourth century heresy which denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit.
3. Council of Ephesus (431). This council formally approved the use of the title “Mother of God” for the Blessed Virgin Mary. It condemned the Nestorian heresy, which emphasized the humanity of Christ, and Pelagian heresy, which declared that salvation is possible through human effort alone, without grace.
4. Council of Chalcedon (451). This council reaffirmed the Council of Nicaea’s declaration of faith that Jesus Christ is true God and true man, and that his divine and human natures are united in one divine person, without confusion, change, division, or separation.
5. Council of Lateran I (1123). This council issued decrees on simony (the buying and selling of spiritual goods), celibacy and lay investiture.
6. Council of Trent (1545-1563). This council was the Church’s response to the Protestant Reformation. It also defined the canon of Sacred Scriptures, Original Sin, grace, justification, seven sacraments.
7. Vatican Council I (1869-1870). This council defined papal primacy and papal infallibility.
8. Vatical Council II (1962-1965). This 20th century council was convened by Pope John XXIII on October 11, 1962, to discuss new ideas pertaining to faith and reason. This modern council opened the Church to more of its members, to other Christians, and to the whole world.   

I always believe that knowledge of our faith will only help us practice our faith more meaningfully. I encourage anyone to drop me a question pertaining to our faith so that I can properly answer it and publish it in the bulletin.

During the last few weeks, our world has been challenged with many significant events! With the Covid pandemic still with us, it seems like there is an endless suffering and darkness embracing our human environment! 
The events in Haiti and in Afghanistan are just of the few example of these! And now, the Hurricane Ida is about to hit the Southern States. 

In spite of all these things, we must not give up! We must turn to God in FAITH and LOVE! We must be united in prayer!

Again I thank you for being a wonderful steward of God’s abundance.

In Christ’s peace,


Fr. Geoffrey

 
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