It can be easy to become provincial as a follower of Christ.
We minister to others through our local parish community, we attend events hosted by our diocese, we see the same people every week at mass, and we sometimes forget the Catholic way of life is being lived by many other communities in different ways around the world.
We must remember that the Greek roots of the word “Catholic” mean "universal."
But our Catholic faith teaches that all of humanity is united in the Body of Christ and that our brothers and sisters around the world are all part of the community of the global Church.
Here are three key reasons why you should think about, pray for and serve the Church around the world, not simply the church in your hometown.
1. Caring for the Global Church Strengthens Your Faith
The Catholic Church is one of the largest religious faith traditions in the world. Over 1.28 billion people around the world identify as Catholics, and Catholics make up around 17% of the world’s population. Catholic communities can be found in every corner of the globe.
Since the days of Christ, the power of the Gospel has swept into and transformed people and communities. Even today, men and women of faith are performing miraculous works of love and service in Jesus’ name.
When we stop to think about the huge community of believers around the world who are doing their part to be the face and hands of Christ, it helps strengthen our faith in the Word and encourages us in our own lives as Catholics and Christians.
2. Caring for the Global Church Increases Your Awareness of Other Lands and Cultures
Do you ever stop to think about the ways the Catholic faith is lived in cultures that different from your own? Catholic communities around the world have unique languages, songs of worship and liturgies for the celebration of the sacraments, but all are united in a common faith. Taking the time to learn about the ways faith is lived in distant cultures helps you grow in appreciation and empathy with others.
The Catechism highlights the beauty and diversity of the universal Church:
“From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them. Within the unity of the People of God, a multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gathered together."
3. Caring for the Global Church Enriches Your Life of Prayer
Sometimes, we all need to find new sources of inspiration for our prayer lives. What better way to bring new life to your prayer than by encountering stories and images of Christ at work from places far away?
Without the life and movement of the Holy Spirit, our life in the faith is cramped and shallow. Thinking about how the Holy Spirit moves in the global Church helps you stay focused on the big picture outside of your head and outside of your immediate surroundings.
Looking for additional ways to enhance your prayer life?
Pray the Novena for the Global Church With Us
We invite you to join us in prayer specifically for the needs of the global Church.
You can pray with us via daily emails delivered to your inbox or on your own by downloading the PDF version of our Novena for the Global Church.
Despite the diversity of cultures, locations and religious practices, the global Church is ultimately one, unified by the bonds of a common faith and acting as a single instrument of Christ on earth. As you pray this novena with us, you will be united in heart and mind with the whole community of believers.
You just may find that these nine days of prayer strengthen your faith, deepen your spiritual life and help you care for your brothers and sisters of all races and cultures, especially those who are in need.