GOD HELP US! We’ve got to improve the way we do things.
By Frank Summers
…[F]our out of five Catholic youngsters fall away, defect to other denominations, embrace New Age cults or succumb to unbelief…. Catholic students [were found to be] lower in religious knowledge than any other group, including Protestants, Jews and nonbelievers. (America, Sept. 10, 2012)
A few Sundays back at Mass here in my diocese, the priest declared that one third of Catholics never go to Mass, one third only attend Mass at Christmas and Easter, and only one third are sometimes attending normal Sunday Masses.
It is certainly right that Pope Benedict has called Catholics to rally for a special “Year of Faith”, with an emphasis on Evangelization. At the same time Benedict has convened a world synod on the New Evangelization (emphasizing the need to reevangelize the modern western world). This synod has already published propositions calling Catholics to a real, even radical revamping of the style and religious emphases, liturgies, ways and customs of the Catholic People. The synod declares the paramount importance of God’s Word and the work of Evangelization in bringing all Catholics into a personal relationship with Jesus, while also supporting standard Catholic doctrine (the Church, the Sacraments, the papacy, the priesthood, Mary…).
This synod promises to issue a trumpet blast call, heralding a new era of Evangelization, summoning us to attention and to the mission and spiritual battle Jesus first called us to: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to all creation” – heal the sick and cast out devils, build up God’s Kingdom on earth!
All of us must understand that we are called to be evangelists and missionaries. Cardinal Dolan says that in order to evangelize effectively, Catholics must be convinced, and committed, and courageous! We are all expected to live holy lives, lives rooted in a personal relationship with Jesus, lives of deep prayer, lives hearing, reading, studying and meditating on the Bible, lives studying Church Teaching, lives in joyful, real fellowship in the Holy Spirit, with other disciples of our Lord. We have been commanded to love the Lord with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strength. We must love others, even our enemies. We must forgive others…. The Gospel teaching of Jesus is meant to be lived, really, today, by us!
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