“And he went up on the mountain and called to himself those whom he wanted, and they came to him.” (Mark 3, 13) The Lord chose these men to be vivid signs of Himself-the Eternal Word of the Father, (Catechism of the Catholic Church 787). This happened while they were ascending a mountain in Galilee—the place of the first encounter of the Apostles with the Lord. Just as their forefathers ascended Mount Sinai to be constituted God’s people and to listen to his word, this mountain in Galilee provided the same experience for these men who would be called the Twelve— the Apostles. The Twelve heard the Good News of salvation from Jesus Christ, but it was after the Lord’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection and the reception of the Holy Spirit that they were able to announce, without fear, the message of the Good News of Salvation of Jesus, now the Risen Lord. Through them, we as a Catholic Church, continue the prolongation of the salvific work of Jesus. Therefore, every community of faithful has something to offer of the Lord himself. Our Saint Mark Parish, therefore, has the Life and the Mission of Jesus handed down to us by our Bishop (1 Corinthians 15: 1-2).
A Parish is erected (Code Canon Law, no. 515) by a Bishop as the "presence of the Church in a given area”, (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 28). The Parish receives its life from the person of Jesus (John 17). "Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And look, I am with you always; yes, to the end of time." (Mt 28: 19-20) St. Mark Parish strives at fulfilling this mission faithfully within the Catholic Church as commanded by Jesus Christ after his resurrection, through the proclamation of the Gospel, faithful witnessing, and the communion of God's children. St. Mark Parish seeks to be the living Body of Christ, the Church, nourished by his living Body, the Holy Eucharist, and illuminated by his living Body, the Holy Scriptures and the Oral Tradition (John 15; 2 Thessalonians 2,15; Lumen Gentium, no. 31).
There are two dimensions to Parish-Life-Mission: first, through the Sacraments of Initiation we become the Living Body of Christ (“because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread”, 1 Cor 10: 17), every Baptized person partakes in the Life and Mission of our Parish in a faithful profession of Jesus Christ in his Church. This allows us a deeper sense of mission, prayer, and Christian witnessing in the places where we live. We, the Christian faithful of St. Mark, share in the commission of the Catholic Church in the world to be a living sign of the Lord Jesus who is with us until the end of time. (1 Corinthians 15; Catechism of the Catholic Church 1213 & 1285)
The second dimension regards the administration of the Parish, (Code Canon Law, no. 519). The Parish- Life-Mission, in this sense, are the Chairpersons from every Commission. Drawing from Sacred Scripture and Tradition, the word commission conveys a sense of mission, elected or chosen, and those selected are commissioned to accomplish a specific task or tasks in the life of the faith community, (Lumen Gentium, no. 37). In our Parish these are: 1-Facility & Grounds; 2-Faith Formation; 3-Fellowship; 4 Finance Council; 5-Growing Discipleship (Apostolates & Movements); 6-Liturgy; 7-Staff-Administrative Assistance & Director of Hispanic Apostolate.
As a faith community in the Church established on the apostles and represented by the local Bishop (Ephesians 2:20-22), St. Mark also partakes in the mission of the Church by its sense of mission represented in its internal organization and structure that allows for opportunities and “places where it is possible to experience faith, to put charity into practice, and to organize hope.” (Pope Benedict XVI Diocese of Rome Convention 05/26/09) Headed by the Pastor, each Commission Chairperson, freely chosen by him, aids the parish to work harmoniously as one united by the Holy Spirit in the urgent task of proclaiming the Gospel of Freedom from sin (1 Corinthian 1: 30; Ephesian 1: 7-14). Therefore, the duty of Parish-Life-Mission is to be an advisory aid for the Pastor. This system of Pastoral Advisory Aid has been in place since September 2013.
Finally, living out these two dimensions of Parish-Life-Mission, united and guided by the Holy Spirit, helps us all respond with the oil of gladness (Psalm 45,7; Isaiah 61: 3) toward God's call to Holiness as we grow in his love in the diversity of charisms. (1 Peter 1: 13-25-2: 1-3; Lumen Gentium, no. 40-42).
In our Christian tradition, ‘Commission’ is essentially a biblical concept. God has always commissioned people. He has always called. In fact, if the entire Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) could be summarized by one short word, that word would have just two letters of the alphabet ‘G’ and ‘O’: “Go!” God often commissions people with the simple word: “Go!” The Bible is a collection of stories about these people; those who heard the word ‘Go’, then got up and went, according to God’s command, like Noah, Abraham, like the children of Israel in Egypt, like Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Amos. Because they went either physically, emotionally or spiritually, they became pillars of faith for their people and for other generations, including us. We say that Abraham is our father in faith because he said ‘yes’ to God. It is God who designs the mission to which we are called. He calls us and reveals the mission (John 15: 16; Ephesian 1: 11). Therefore, when accepting God’s will, we can experience his love. That is why in the New Testament, Jesus calls those he chooses not to be active on their own; but as St. Mark tells us, to be with him,(Mark 3: 14-16; 6: 30; Luke 6: 13). In our commissions, not limited to these, our primary task is to be with Jesus, to work with him, in communion with his servant, the presbyter. Jesus still calls us to serve in the diversity of charisms and talents:
Our commission donates time, talent, and professional guidance in an effort to maintain St. Mark's facilities and grounds. This work is done with an attitude of giving without expecting any return from the Church. This Commission is open to all the members of our Parish community. If you would like to help with maintaining our facilities and grounds, please call 706-754-4518.
Faith Formation has two integral yet distinct teams: English and Spanish speaking teams. They are formed by volunteers who present our Catholic Faith according to the needs of each community. Our task is to provide adult programs that will assist parishioners in their understanding and experience of our Catholic Faith, as handed down to us from the Magisterium (i.e. the Pope and bishops, the teaching body of the Church). We research parish-based educational programs, and the writings of the Magisterium, including leading theologians, and experts within the Church. Those who want to belong to the team of Faith Formation may do so by discerning with Ann Cassano (English) or José Luis (Spanish), and our Pastor, by calling 706-754-4518.
Fellowship opportunities, beside the sacraments and the various group’s events, are essential to the life of St. Mark Church. Along with our Pastor, the Fellowship Commission oversees various activities within the Parish. It focuses on providing effective and efficient communications about activities to our St. Mark Family. It provides a doorway to connect parishioners with our Parish activities. If you like to plan or help in the setup of Parish wide events, call 706-754-4518.
The purpose of the St. Mark Finance Council is to advise the Pastor on all matters pertaining to the finances of the parish. Responsibilities include: reviewing and making recommendations to the Pastor in financial matters, reviewing internal parish controls and accounting procedures, monitoring offertory and expense trends, assisting with the preparation of quarterly financial reports and the annual budget, and to maintain a detailed inventory of assets. Those who are part of the Finance Council are chosen by the Pastor.
The mission of the Discipleship Commission at St. Mark is to encourage and support all of the organized groups and movements that meet as a part of our St. Mark Parish family. In this, the Growing Discipleship Commission offers assistance with networking, communicating, promoting, and spiritually deepening the wide range of charisms that meet to answer their own calling to serve the Church, the Body of Christ.
The Liturgy Commission exists primarily to assist in the living experience of the people of God as they come together in heart and mind to celebrate the Most Holy Eucharist. Members are parish representatives of the music ministry, lectors, extra ordinary ministers of Scared Communion, ushers, altar servers, and more. These ministers work together to ensure that the liturgy’s mission is at the heart of parish life. The meetings of Liturgy Commission bring together both English and Spanish speaking parishioners to help plan the Liturgical Year. If you wish to belong to one of the ministries, please call 706-754-4518.
The Staff provide administrative support and assistance in the different endeavors of planning, connection, and communication for the various Commissions.