Roman Catholic faith topic of monthly Springfield education, peace program

St. Bernard Catholic Church
St. Bernard Catholic Church

The Global Education and Peace Network begins the new year exploring another different faith as part of its ongoing series with a representative of one of Springfield’s oldest churches.

“Connecting through the Distance: Practicing Faith, Hope and Love in Pandemic Times, Roman Catholic Connections” will be led by Father John MacQuarrie, pastor at St. Bernard’s and St. Teresa Roman Catholic Churches, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14 on Zoom.

St. Bernard was founded in 1860 and is the city’s second oldest Catholic community. MacQuarrie has lifelong connection to the area, growing up in New Carlisle and attending Catholic Central High School.

In 1980, his second assignment was as associate pastor at St. Teresa and he returned in 2014 to St. Bernard and the following year to St. Teresa. He is Dean of the Springfield Deanery to coordinate directives and policies from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for four counties.

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MacQuarrie said he’s glad to represent the Catholic faith and looks forward to sharing it on Thursday.

“It’s very, very important to understand each other and to get to know each other. Peace today is huge with all the division,” he said.

MacQuarrie explained Catholicism has its origins in Jesus Christ, a common factor in bringing churches together despite some variance in approaches.

“We wouldn’t be here without Jesus,” he said.

Part of each program this season touches on each faith’s reaction to two of the biggest issues of our times: The COVID-19 pandemic and race relations. Many St. Teresa parishioners are of Hispanic heritage and the church hosts and annual Festival Latino event that welcomes the public to share in the culture and its traditions.

“We need to learn about each other and to understand the suffering of others,” MacQuarrie said. “We try to represent different cultures.”

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The Catholic Church has weathered various problems over the years. MacQuarrie said leaders have worked to place protections and policies to keep these from happening and welcome people back. Many were eager to return to live services at St. Bernard and others prefer virtual.

“We have to overcome fear and reach out to our brothers and sisters. It’s what Jesus would want us to do,” he said.

MacQuarrie said the saying “We’re all in this together” that came out of the pandemic can apply to a lot of things going on these days, and faith should be a part of getting through it all.

“There’s a lot of loneliness the pandemic created. You can find certainty in your faith. Hope and faith are things we all need,” he said.

For more information about how to call in to the program or join the meeting through Zoom, contact Nancy Flinchbaugh at 937-324-7696 or at nflinchbaugh@springfieldohio.gov.

The meeting will also stream live on the City of Springfield’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/user/GATVSpringfield5.

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