Fr. John's Letter Archives

Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.

Poverty, Chastity and Obedience

06-23-2013Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

This week the Daughters of St. Paul will invade our Parish! The sisters are bringing their love, talent, knowledge and expertise to school us in the New Evangelization. One of their great charisms is using the media and modern means of social communication to proclaim the Gospel. The week will culminate on Sunday, June 30 at the 5pm Mass when Sr. Maria Kim will make her Perpetual Profession before her Superior and Bishop Olmsted. I HIGHLY encourage you to attend. This is a very unique and blessed opportunity that rarely occurs in a Parish Church. It will also be a profound experience to witness a young woman consecrating her entire life and self to Christ through the evangelical vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Sr. Maria Kim, who grew up in our Parish very much wanted this to take place at Mt. Carmel since it is the place that helped bring her vocation to fruition and many of you had a part in that. So please come and share her joy and offer your prayers for her. Simply put this is not to be missed!

This visit of the Daughters of St. Paul is also fortuitous. This year at our Parish Leadership Retreat and at our Parish Council's Strategic Planning sessions the need for better and more effective ways to evangelize was identified as a top priority. Specifically identified was the need to reach out to nominal Catholics and help stir up in their hearts the passion and joy of the Gospel. What many on the Parish Leadership team pointed out was that while they themselves are active Catholics most of their families and friends no longer practice the faith. That of course poses all sorts of challenges within families and creates lots of awkwardness. The challenge we all face is how do we make a compelling case for the Gospel to them? How do we help set their hearts on fire once again?

It was Pope Paul VI who emphatically stated that the "Church exits in order to evangelize". Both Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI made a strong case that this "new" form of evangelization is new not in its content but "new in its ardor, methods and expression" so that we might effectively bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the men and women of today's world. Pope Francis is in many ways the embodiment of this new evangelization.

After all at its core, evangelization is showing men and women that the answer to their doubt, their longing to be loved, the solution to their emptiness of heart and their pursuit of happiness is most fully found in Jesus Christ. But how do we do that? That is where the Daughters of St. Paul come in: they will give us new tools and show us new ways to proclaim the Gospel.

One of the many things that get in our way of being evangelists is our own fear. This fear is rooted in our modern belief that everything is equal to everything else. When we make the case for Christ we are in effect saying that everything else falls short. Some of us also may be afraid that we are being less than tolerant or imposing our ways on others. But if we believe truly and really that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life won't we be cheating others if we fail to offer them the Gospel? We already know the "what" of evangelization. It's the how that trips us up. So come and learn from the Daughters of St. Paul the methods of the New Evangelization. A full list of events is in the Bulletin and on our website. Pope emeritus Benedict said, "Evangelizing is not merely a way of speaking, but a form of living". Sr. Maria Kim and her companions are showing us precisely that form of living.

Lord, holy Father, Confirm the resolve of your servant Maria Kim. Grant that the grace of baptism, Which she wishes to strengthen with new bonds, May work its full effect in her, So that she may offer you her praise And spread Christ's kingdom with apostolic zeal. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

May St. Paul make us all enthusiastic models of the new evangelization.

Love, Fr. John B.

P.S. Another young woman from Mt. Carmel, Sydney Moss will make her first profession with the Salesian Sisters of St John Bosco on Aug. 5 at their Provincial House in San Antonio, Texas. Please pray for her as she takes this important step. When it rains it pours! Amen!