Dear Parish Family,
Do you have a desire to help people encounter our Lord Jesus and enter a relationship with him through the life of the Church? Maybe you sense in your relationship with God that he is calling you to something deeper by which he will use you to draw others to himself, but you have yet to discern exactly how or in what way. If so, please let me know! I am in search of parishioners who want to help in fulfilling the “new evangelization” here in Jackson.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “new evangelization,” but maybe may not know exactly to what it refers. Essentially, it entails the same mission that the Lord has given to the Church from the very beginning, “Go and make disciples of all nations!” (Mt 28:19), but doing so in ways that, as St. John Paul the Great expressed, are new in ardor, new in methods, and new in expression. In a secular society that is in many ways post-Christian, the Good News must be re-proposed to the world with a fresh vitality. This new evangelization, Pope Francis states, “calls for the personal involvement of all the baptized” (Evangelii Gaudium 120).
In fulfilling this call here in our Diocese of Lansing, our shepherd, Bishop Earl Boyea, will convene three historic “Diocesan Assemblies” over the next five years dedicated to renewing our parishes to be the centers of this new evangelization: the first will be November 19 and 20 of this year, the second in 2016, and the third in 2018. All clergy and lay leaders of the parish are expected to go, and thus, our entire pastoral staff will be present. I also want to bring with us a few lay leaders who may be interested in becoming a part of a New Evangelization Commission that I will be forming here at our parish.
The theme of this first Diocesan Assembly in November is “Equipping the Household of Faith.” It will help us develop a vision of how to offer the necessary spiritual formation for our parishioners to be Christ’s presence in the world: his eyes, his mouth, his hands and his feet. In pilates language, this first stage is “strengthening the core” of our parish, that is, those in our spiritual family who are willing to take the next step and go where the Lord leads. Part of this spiritual formation is discovering the ways God has uniquely gifted each of the baptized to build up the kingdom of God.
Holding formational events that help our fellow parishioners to grow in their faith and discover their giftedness will require much more organization, support, and follow-through than the clergy and parish staff can provide. If you are interested in partnering with us in “equipping the household of faith,” then please email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to know more about the bishop’s “Announce the Gospel” initiative, please read his most recent report: “Where We Have Been and Where We Are Going” at: http://www.dioceseoflansing.org/sites/default/files/files/pastoral_followup_2014.pdf. Come and join me on this “great commission!”
Yours in Christ,