UP Catholic 00 01 2017 E Edition Page 4

4 June 16, 2017 THE U.P. CATHOLIC TRANSFORMING FIRE: PASTORAL LETTER ON EVANGELIZATION www.upcatholic.org Thank you to the Knights of Columbus Councils of the Upper Peninsula for making it possible to publish Bishop John Doerfler's Pastoral Letter on Evangelization in the Diocese of Marquette! to participate prayerfully in Mass every Sunday (or Saturday evening). Jesus has also given us the Sacrament of Penance to help us have a regular experience of his love and mercy. By going to Confession frequently, we are healed of our sins and continually reminded of Gods love and mercy. Many Catholics have the custom of receiving the Sacrament of Penance at least twice a year, for example, during Advent and Lent. If we truly wish to grow in our spiritual life, it is preferable to go to Confession even more frequently. The grace of the sacrament helps us to turn away from sin and grow closer to the Lord; thus, monthly Confession is a good practice. Let us all strive to go to Confession at least twice a year, preferably more often. Daily personal prayer is also an important way for us to deepen a personal encounter with Jesus. Quoting St. John Damascene, the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines prayer in this way: Prayer is the raising of ones mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God. (CCC, 2559) Our prayer consists in blessing and thanksgiv- ing, petition, intercession, adoration and praise. In prayer of blessing and thanksgiving we respond to Gods goodness and gifts with gratitude. In prayer of petition we ask God for our needs, for what is good for us. In prayer of intercession we pray for other people on their behalf. In prayer of adoration and praise we acknowledge that God is God and we are his creatures. We praise God and stand in awe and wonder at his majesty (cf. CCC, 2626-2643). Does your daily prayer involve all of these dimensions? Personal prayer is expressed in three forms: vocal prayer, meditation and contemplation. Vocal prayer involves both body and soul. In vocal prayer, we give verbal expression to the interior prayer of our heart, and the best example is the Lords Prayer. In meditation, we use our thoughts and imagination to reflect prayerfully on the Word of God in the Bible above all, and speak to God from our heart. Con- templation is a form of prayer that God gives us. We cannot contemplate on our own. Contemplation can be described as a simple loving gaze on God in silence (cf. CCC, 2700-2719). Is your daily personal prayer expressed in vocal prayer and either medita- tion or contemplation? I invite all of you to renew your commitment to personal prayer by striving to spend at least fifteen minutes a day in prayer when you can speak to God from your heart. Currently there are many ways to foster a person- al encounter with Jesus and spiritual formation in prayer in the Diocese of Marquette. These include Youth Encounter, the annual trip to the Steuben- ville Youth Conference, See the See, Going Deeper, The Baraga Youth Fraternity, Cursillo, Koinonia, Alpha, retreats at Marygrove, Life in the Spirit Seminars, EWTN and Catholic Radio, parish mis- sions, pilgrimages, Corpus Christi and other pro- cessions, home enthronements to the Sacred Heart, small prayer groups, Eucharistic Adoration, the World Apostolate of Fatima, and Secular Carmelite Communities. I provide here just a general over- view, and I invite all apostolates in the diocese to reflect on how they are contributing to the Church's mission of evangelization. The fall evangelization workshops will be forums to exchange concrete ideas and best practices for us as individuals, families and parishes to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to foster a personal encounter with Jesus and formation in prayer. 2. Make a Friend: Building a Community of Love and Forming Welcoming Parishes In addition to being a friend of Jesus, it is neces- sary for us to make a friend and share with others the love of Jesus that we have received. I encourage you to share the love of Jesus with others by building a community of love and forming welcoming parish- es with the help of the Holy Spirit. A. Building a Community of Love Pope Francis has referred to the Church as a field hospital. Many people in the world are wounded by a lack of love. Spirit-filled evangelizers are so filled with the love of God that they long to share that love with other people. The key to sharing Gods love with others is to open our hearts to God and allow him to love us first so that others may encounter Gods love through us. Then we need to be mindful that some of our behaviors stand in the way of Gods love and need to be changed with the help of Gods grace. It is a grave scandal when there is a lack of love among Christians, for our mutual love is to be a sign for non-believers that we are Jesus disciples. I offer here some questions to help us all reflect on how we love each other. Will other people experience the love of God by the way that I treat them? Am I friendly? Am I hon- est, trustworthy and dependable? Do I listen? Do I make sacrifices for other people? Am I patient? Am I generous? Am I grateful? Am I joyful? Am I fair and just? Am I kind and gentle? When necessary, do I offer fraternal correction lovingly? In my relation- ships, am I concerned about what I want or what is best for the other person? Do I lose my temper? Do I fall into gossip or jealousy? Do I give of my time, money and possessions to meet the needs of others? Do I give people the benefit of the doubt or am I judgmental? Do I forgive or do I hold a grudge? Do I love and accept other people as they are? Let us build a community of love. Let us strive to share the love of God with the members of our family, our friends, neighbors and coworkers. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will work through us so that others will experience his love. B. Forming Welcoming Parishes Welcoming parishes are formed when the priest and the people desire to share the love of Jesus with everyone who walks through the doors of the church or has contact with the parish in any way. Welcom- ing parishes are formed when the priest and the people desire to share the love of Jesus by reaching out to those in need in the broader community. The interior desire to share the love of Jesus gives rise to the actions that form and give expression to a welcoming parish that becomes a place of encounter with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. To form welcoming parishes it is important to focus on the Sunday celebration of Mass and how we can cooperate with the Holy Spirit to facilitate a personal encounter with Jesus by sharing his love. As I indicated above, at Mass we also encounter Jesus through the priest and through one anoth- er, so this provides an indication of how we form welcoming parishes. Thus, I will provide the follow- ing reflection questions to help the priest and the people to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in forming a welcoming parish where people can encounter Gods love.

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