Pentecost Sunday is the “Birthday of the Church.” Only when the apostles received the power of the Holy Spirit did they go out to evangelize the world. Fr. Jim Northrop, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Enumclaw, shared the following experience about the challenge of “new evangelization:”
“I am currently teaching a class on Encountering Jesus and this past week I decided to present the whole reality that following Jesus means you strive to live a Christian lifestyle. When I asked them about living together before marriage, they didn't seem to be clear on where the Church landed on that topic and some of them asked me what that topic had to do with our faith. We had a great discussion about the moral component of our faith and how they early Christians were known as "People of the Way" because of the way they lived their lives. After the class I thought about a section from "The Splendor of Truth" by Pope John Paul II, which talked about the concern he had that people don't realize that faith and actions must go together. What he says totally resonated with me in light of the teen's question about whether or not living together had anything to do with following Jesus. Here is what Pope John Paul II says:
At least for many peoples, however, the present time is instead marked by a formidable challenge to undertake a "new evangelization", a proclamation of the Gospel, which is always new, and always the bearer of new things, an evangelization which must be "new in its ardor, methods and expression". (166) Dechristianization, which weighs heavily upon entire peoples and communities once rich in faith and Christian life, involves not only the loss of faith or in any event its becoming irrelevant for everyday life, but also, and of necessity, a decline or obscuring of the moral sense. This comes about both as a result of a loss of awareness of the originality of Gospel morality and as a result of an eclipse of fundamental principles and ethical values themselves. Today's widespread tendencies towards subjectivism, utilitarianism and relativism appear not merely as pragmatic attitudes or patterns of behavior, but rather as approaches having a basis in theory and claiming full cultural and social legitimacy.
Evangelization — and therefore the "new evangelization" — also involves the proclamation and presentation of morality. Jesus himself, even as he preached the Kingdom of God and its saving love, called people to faith and conversion (cf. Mk 1:15). And when Peter, with the other Apostles, proclaimed the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead, he held out a new life to be lived, a "way" to be followed, for those who would be disciples of the Risen One (cf. Acts 2:37-41; 3:17-20).
As the Holy Father points out, we have much work ahead of us. At this time of year, we send out students from our universities and other schools. We pray that in some way they may be equipped for the challenge of the living the Christian “way” in a society, which so often is hostile to our values. On June 12, Holy Family School will have its annual Graduation Mass. We pray for them and all students during this moment of transition.
This Thursday is First Thursday of June. Fr. Ramón and I will be available for confessions from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Church. Also Fr. Ramón will be celebrating a regular Mass on Saturday mornings at 8 a.m. I know many will want to take advantage of this is a wonderful spiritual opportunity. In addition on Sunday afternoons at 4:30 p.m. there will be the celebration of Vespers and Benediction. It was inaugurated last Sunday and was an inspiring half hour of prayer.
Thank you for your contributions to the Annual Catholic Appeal. So far we have received 550 pledges for a total of $49,675.21. If you have not yet made your pledge, please do so. Our archdiocesan goal is $48,217. Anything received over that amount will be returned to the parish. This year we will use our rebate for the renovation of parish buildings, especially the school building which is used not only by our school children, but also by the entire parish. Your support is greatly appreciated.
As we approach the end of fiscal year 2000-2001 I wish to thank you for your Sacrificial Giving. As of last Sunday we had received a total of $541,377. The envelope or loose money, which you place in our first collections at weekend Masses is what we depend upon for the operating expenses of our parish. The goal for the present fiscal year, ending June 30, is $________. To maintain our parish programs we depend on your support year around. Expenses for salaries, utilities, building maintenance, etc. continue during the summer months.
This Sunday afternoon, after the 12:30 p.m., Dr. Jan Hemstad, M.D. and Darcy Hemstad, R.N., will give an introduction to Natural Family Planning. Married couples – and single adults – are welcome to attend this bilingual presentation in the Ailbe House.
A Catholic newspaper I highly recommend is the National Catholic Register. A few sample copies have been available in church vestibule. You can subscribe by writing to P.O. Box 373, Mt. Morris, IL 61054 or by Phone:(800) 421-3230. You can receive 26 (half year) issues for $19.95. It is also possible to sign up via the Internet: http://www.ncregister.com/