SALT LAKE CITY — On Aug. 22, Saints Peter and Paul Parish once again put its faith into action by dedicating its 2021-2022 pastoral year with the theme “Co-responsibility – Our Mission.”
The day’s celebration was highlighted by the presence of Bishop Oscar A. Solis, who presided at the 11 a.m. Mass. Concelebrating was Fr. Sebastien Sasa Nganomo, the parish administrator. Assisting were Deacon Lynn Johnson and Deacon George Sluga.
Fr. Sasa started the celebration by welcoming and thanking Bishop Solis for his “paternal love for our family of Sts. Peter and Paul. Your words have strengthened our faith and encourage us to continue with the implementation of the diocesan Pastoral Plan.”
The pastoral year will help prepare for the festivities that will take place to mark the parish’s 50th anniversary next year; the parish was founded in August 1972.
With the theme of co-responsibility, “we want to bring together all that we have received freely from God as gifts, talents and treasures. With many of them, many people have been able to build the kingdom of God here in West Valley City and in our Church here in Utah,” Fr. Sasa said.
During its pastoral year, the Sts. Peter and Paul community “will activate five sectors of pastoral ministry in order to accompany the holy people of God in their spiritual and human journey,” he said.
These pillars will be justice, peace, vocations, cultural diversity and missionary discipleship, so that parishioners will be “missionaries of hope here in Utah,” the priest said.
In his homily, Bishop Solis said people must make many choices in life, such as whether to get married or remain single, and whether to live with God or by secular values. These decisions are not just only life-changing but matters of live and death; they are decisions of “eternal reward or happiness or eternal punishment,” he said.
Each person has the power to determine how Jesus plays a part in their lives, the bishop said. “This Sunday Christ is challenging us to make this big decision in our lives. … It’s on us to determine how Jesus is in our lives. He teaches us the truth by the Bread of Life. … In eating the Body of Christ and drinking his blood he establishes a communion between God and us.”
Each person has to judge for themselves who Jesus is in their own life to determine the way of living and believing, Bishop Solis said. “In other words, we have two choices: to be non-believers or to be like the apostles who believe that Jesus is the bread of life.”
Andres Acosta, a Knight of Columbus, said he believes it’s important to participate in the care of the parish community, and to enjoy that opportunity.
“It’s a privilege to know that we are continuing the work of the people that started 50 years ago,” Acosta said. “Co-responsibility is important because a person, as a Catholic, has to have always present [the idea] that our parish and the Church is for everyone.”
Similarly, Jose Luis Muñoz, another Knight, said that “co-responsibility is a job for everyone. It’s a commitment that we have to our Church so we can be able to continue solving the needs that come along.”
Valeria Ramirez, also a Sts. Peter and Paul parishioner, said that as a Hispanic woman it is very special to see how the parish community has grown.
“This parish is like my second home, and to see all coming together as one community – it’s a blessing,” she said.
“We never met the founders, but we thank them. To see how the community keeps on growing today it is a great joy; to have our priest Fr. Sebastien encouraging and supporting us to be one community despite our differences – it’s just amazing,” said Maria Rios, who added that every person has the responsibility to take care of their parish community as much as they can with their talents and treasures.