Chances are you’ve heard of or read about it by now…on a previous bulletin cover, at the tables outside of Masses last week, or maybe you’ve already received a call from your area’s Parish Representative inviting you to the event. Even though the assembly is still over 3 months away, our St. John Parish diocesan assembly team and Parish Representatives have been getting the word out now. Why so soon? It’s a short but very honest answer: we’re so excited about it! And we want to be certain that we have enough time to reach out to every parishioner so that all know about it, consider it, and get excited about it, too!
We don’t want you to miss out!
It’s a calling!
In his 2012 Pastoral Letter, Bishop Boyea outlined his plan for diocesan outreach that would strengthen the members of his flock—“Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord”—detailing how we could be “equipped for mission” both within our parish and beyond. This plan included three key assemblies, with “Made for Happiness” being the third. The first focused on “the household of faith” with an emphasis on building/strengthening one’s personal relationship with Christ; the second focused on the “lost sheep” whereby we, strengthened ourselves, could reach out to non-practicing Catholics to welcome them back to the church. And, now, we’re approaching the third assembly… Made for Happiness. To put it simply, the second assembly was life-changing for me. The theme was “Called by Name.” As a cradle Catholic, either I had forgotten that call along the way or maybe had never really known it fully…but all of a sudden this was placed very directly on my heart. I felt God calling, “You, Shayne, are called by name. I am asking you to help my people, to do the work of the kingdom.” I felt a closeness to God and my faith in a way I had never quite before. It eventually led to my career change from teaching to taking a job here at the parish as Coordinator of Parish Life. I realized that as a “cradle Catholic” I had been “stuck in the cradle” so to speak; I had yet to truly learn to walk and talk for the Lord. And that’s why I’m excited for you to attend, why I’m encouraging you to go even if you’re not sure it’s “your thing” or “worth the hassles of a large crowd or a possible hunt for a parking spot.” We’re all at different points in our faith walk, and, realistically, while we’re not all going to be called to seek employment at our home parish, I feel confident that after the assembly many will long to work with the parish on mission, drawn by their God-given Baptismal call to love and serve God and share Him with others. Many will long to have a deeper relationship with Him. We are all called to be disciples, evangelizers. We can do that within our parish family and beyond. The Made for Happiness assembly is a call to all.
It’s an invitation!
The assembly gives us the opportunity to unite and bond further as a parish family and with fellow Catholics. Whenever people come together to share an experience that is led by the working of the Holy Spirit, they become emp
owered together. It will be a fun day of camaraderie, a “day away” to join together for a parish tailgate sponsored by the Knights, walk side by side in the Eucharistic Procession, and celebrate Mass as a family at the table of our Lord.
It’s an essential need!
We are made for happiness—God wired us that way. And yet we search for it in so many places and things that don’t lead to a sustained, true happiness. Come to the assembly and find out more about how our Creator made us for happiness and how we can achieve it! Nationally-known Catholic speakers such as Fr. Mike Schmitz, Jennifer Fulwiler, and Deacon Oney will be on hand to inspire us and get us thinking, and Bishop Boyea will share his own words of encouragement.
Once we encounter happiness, we can’t help but share it with others! We become light. As Bishop Robert Barron explains, “We are…light by which people around us come to see what is worth seeing. By the very quality and integrity of our lives, we shed light, illuminating what is beautiful and revealing what is ugly.” And he further explains, “Jesus uses images of salt and light to show how we are to bring salvation to the world. In our rather privatized and individualistic culture, we tend naturally to think of religion as something for ourselves designed to make our lives richer or better. Now there is a sense in which that is true, but on the biblical reading, religiosity is like salt, light, and an elevated city: it is meant not for oneself, but for others.” So, ultimately, we are made for happiness…and our happiness is made for others. Encounter it at the Diocesan Assembly!