Welcoming everyone to proclaim and live the joy of the Gospel.
LIVING OUR FAITH SPOTLIGHTS
In the first of our series on Small Faith Communities, parishioners Bruce and Deena Schonk talk about the importance of small faith groups amidst the changes life brings. Click on the video to hear more.
Georgia State Lawmakers are now in session and that is making for a busy year ahead for the Georgia Catholic Conference. In the video, parishioner and executive director of the Georgia Catholic Conference, Frank Mulcahy talks about how Catholics can best engage in the political process.
If you are looking for ways to stay connected to parishioners at St. Thomas Aquinas, we encourage you to join us in prayer for our daily Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet.
When: Rosary at 12:40 PM, and Divine Chaplet at 3 PM
Where: Call (224) 501-3412 enter code: 522-566-253 when prompted
The Domestic Church
The word “church” has a variety of different meanings and usages. Perhaps the most common and obvious meaning and usage is that it’s the name we give to the building in which Christians gather to worship. Sometimes, though, the word is used to refer to the hierarchy or the Magisterium as when, for example, you hear people say, “The Church teaches….” The term can also be used to describe the believers themselves, the People of God, wherever they may be—worshiping in the church or bringing the presence of Christ into the world.
The Catholic Church has a particular structure. There have been different ways to present that structure over the years but the way that I find most helpful is to picture four concentric circles. The large outer circle represents the Universal Church led by the bishop of Rome (the pope) and all bishops in union with him. Within that circle, there is the local diocesan church led by its local bishop. The third circle is the local parish church where we celebrate the sacraments and grow in the love of Christ and one another. The fourth circle, and the most intimate, is the family. [Note: At St. Thomas Aquinas, we have a fifth circle within the church that we call Small Faith Communities—parishioners who gather regularly in their homes to be church for each other and for the world. Ask them to describe what it’s like to be in a Small Faith Community and you’ll often hear, “We’re a family.”]
One of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium (“Light of the Nations”), describes the family, the smallest body of gathered believers in Christ, as the “domestic church” because it is the first place where young baptized Christians learn about their faith. Though recovered only recently, the term dates all the way back to the first century A.D. The Greek word ecclesiola referred to “little church.” Our Early Church Fathers understood that the home was fertile ground for discipleship and growth in everyday holiness because the home is the primary place where we practice intimately loving other people.
This time has called us all to a deeper understanding of what it means to be church. Being unable to go to the church building has invited us to be much more intentional about being church at home. Our Small Faith Communities and adult education classes have continued to gather together through various platforms like Zoom to continue to study together, pray together, and serve however and wherever we can. And throughout this time, the Faith Formation Staff has been sending home suggestions for families to strengthen and deepen the faith of families in the domestic church.
Something we can all do to strengthen and deepen our faith and our trust in God is to bless one another. Every Christian can bless and it is in the home where Christian families “exercise the priesthood of the baptized in a privileged way” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1657). Click on the link and discover reasons and ways to bless and receive a blessing from those whom you hold most dear.
Adult Education and Evangelization Coordinator
- America Magazine (weekly, for serious readers)
- Catholic Digest (monthly)
- Commonweal (bimonthly, for serious readers)
- The Georgia Bulletin (biweekly, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Atlanta)
- Guideposts (monthly)
- Ligourian (monthly)
- Living City (magazine on Social Justice)
- National Catholic Reporter (weekly, national newspaper)
- Anthony Messenger (monthly) and www.franciscanmedia.org
- Sojourners (magazine on Social Justice)
- U.S. Catholic (monthly)
Prayer & Reflection
- Center for Action and Contemplation (daily reflections and more)
- Guideposts (daily devotions and more)
- Living Faith (daily devotions)
- Living with Christ (daily and Sunday lectionary readings)
- Pray-As-You-Go (devotions)
- Sacred Space (devotions)
- The Word Among Us (daily and Sunday lectionary readings)
- Universalis (prayer, reflections)
- Light a Candle (prayer)
- Come, Pray the Rosary (Prayer)
- The Daily Examen (daily reflection)
- Discerning Hearts (prayer, devotionals)
- An Online Retreat (prayer, reflections)
Atlanta Area Retreat Centers
- Catechist’s Journey (blog for catechists by Joe Paprocki)
- Catholic Resources
- Loyola Publishing
- Pflaum Publishing
Many of the above resources are available in the parish library so you can see which one(s) best suit your needs.