One Body in Christ: St. Norbert Hosts Ecumenical Service Celebrating Christian Unity During CSW

Post date: Feb 19, 2015 2:13:42 PM

On Wednesday of Catholic Schools Week, St. Norbert Catholic School hosted an Ecumenical Prayer Service in celebration of the parish's 50th anniversary. Father Jim MItulski, St. Norbert's pastor, along with Deacon Bill Twellman, pastoral associate, invited neighboring pastors from the community to join them in leading the student body and many visitors in prayer with the theme: "We Are One Body in Christ." Many of the pastors have church members, or even family members, who are current students at St. Norbert. Dr. Freddy Clark, Pastor of Shalom Church (City of Peace) has grandchildren who attend the school. During his sermon, Pastor Clark joked that his grandkids had given him strict instructions not to embarrass them. He did not disappoint. He spoke of the parable of the Good Samaritan, and noted that our neighborly behavior should help build up our community in response to recent struggles. "Ours is a calling to get involved," said Pastor Clark. "We are one body in Christ. We find common ground when we understand that our diversity gives us strength."

The St. Norbert School children participated with several songs and prayers of intercession. Several other ministers joined the prayer service. Pastor John Higgins of John Knox Presbyterian Church led an opening prayer of unity. Deacon Bill Twellmann of St. Norbert, Minister David Howard of Ark of Safety Christian Church and Pastor Bob Levin of North County Community Church proclaimed scripture readings. Dr. Rance Thomas, President of the North County Churches Uniting for Racial Harmony and Justice, read the gospel (John 17:20-26). Dr. Freddy Clark delivered the sermon, and Rev. Renee Fenner, Rector at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, concluded with benediction and sending forth.

Dr. Kurt Nelson, the new Superintendent of Catholic Education for the Archdiocese of St. Louis attended the prayer service and spoke for a few minutes about how Catholic schools cherish unity. He noted that Catholic Schools week is always the last week in January, probably because that is when the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas falls each year. St. Thomas Aquinas was the first to make the connection that the world around us, science and technology, can teach us about God. Dr. Nelson noted that in Catholic Schools we have the fantastic privilege of being able to keep Jesus with us throughout our studies of all things - we can truly unify our faith and knowledge and grow in both. He ended with a quote on unity from St. Thomas Aquinas: "How can we live in harmony? First we need to know we are all madly in love with the same God."