La Purisima Parish Story

La Purisima ParishFor some time, leaders in the La Purisima parish community in Orange, California, have recognized that there was urgent work to be done for members to live Stewardship and become a truly integrated faith community. With three distinct cultures – Hispanic, Vietnamese and Anglo – Masses are celebrated separately based on culture along with most feast days and festivals. There is an understanding and a challenge that together we are the body of Christ, but living out that mission is not always easy. Although tri-lingual masses are held several times a year, the three separate communities tend to operate independently and experience challenges when working together.

Recently, over 75 ministry leaders from all cultures in the parish gathered for a day-long retreat planned for strengthening the bonds within the three communities. Leaders from each culture helped to plan the retreat and questions were discussed, such as: “How can we better show we are the body of Christ in our parish? What do we appreciate about each culture? What do we want to know more about each other? What would our parish be like if our cultures were totally connected? What are new ways we can build bridges to link our communities?”

The answers were truly astonishing! Although the community is diverse, each cultural group wants the same things – to grow in their faith, to pass their faith on to their children, and to be part of a parish where they feel they belong. They also wanted to learn more about each other. Mutual goals toward closing the gap were established and everyone agreed that the retreat was just the beginning. The real work lies ahead.

During the closing Mass, the retreat leaders were reminded that “Heaven won’t be divided into Hispanic, Asian and Anglo, so we might as well get used to being together.” Since then, there is a new sense of inclusion at La Purisima and a commitment to create a community that is truly a reflection of heaven on earth.

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