Monday, August 5, 2013

just 100 days remaining...

Next week it will be just 100 days until the end of the Year of faith. There have been some great events in many dioceses. In Christchurch Diocese the FaithFest diocesan festival is being organised to mark the end of the Year of Faith.

It was Pope Benedict who called for the Year of Faith as a way to reawaken and inspire those in the church who had become complacent or tired. It is important that our parishes face the fact that many who are baptised as Catholic, now have little real contact with the Church. At times this might be a choice that they have made. But more often a drift away begins, and it can be difficult to reconnect with the Church even when people would like to. 

The real problem is that many of those who have drifted from the Church, also feel (perhaps as a result of their move) at a distance from God. This is never true, since wherever we go, God is present. Pope Benedict was aware of this when he called for this Year of Faith writing in his Year of Faith (Porta Fidei) letter

The “door of faith” (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church. It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime. It begins with baptism (cf. Rom 6:4)... 

...Ever since the start of my ministry as Successor of Peter, I have spoken of the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ. During the homily at the Mass marking the inauguration of my pontificate I said: “The Church as a whole and all her Pastors, like Christ, must set out to lead people out of the desert, towards the place of life, towards friendship with the Son of God, towards the One who gives us life, and life in abundance.”

It is too easy to think that new pastoral programmes and parish initiatives are an adequate response to the invitation of faith. These are important, and at times are essential. However too often these well-intentioned endeavours become the sole focus of Parish Council meetings. We need to remember that the Church is not the community of people who, by their own efforts, make something happen, or who are simply waiting for something to happen.

A priest friend in the U.S. put this well when he wrote recently of his own successful parish renewal:
"We began from the fact that we are already united, putting our faith in Christ who has brought us together. Then we desired, in this Year of Faith, to tell the world that the object of our striving is neither an object nor a theory, but a Person. He's alive here and how, and his name is Jesus"

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