UP Catholic 00 01 2017 E Edition Page 5

www.upcatholic.org THE U.P. CATHOLIC TRANSFORMING FIRE: PASTORAL LETTER ON EVANGELIZATION June 16, 2017 5 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! Reflection questions for the priest: Do I celebrate Mass prayerfully and reverently, so that by my example of prayer I may draw the congregation into deeper prayer where they will encounter Jesus and his love? Do the people know that I love them by the way that I preach? When I preach, do I speak to the people from my heart? Does my preaching frequent- ly include the basic Gospel message so that the peo- ple know that they can have a personal relationship with Jesus who loves them and died and rose for their salvation? Do I convey my love for the people in my preaching to help them apply the Word of God to their lives by giving concrete action steps? When I preach on a challenging moral issue to call the peo- ple to conversion as Jesus did, do I assure the people of God's mercy, a chance to start again, and look on them with love as Jesus did with the rich young man (Mark 10:21) when he called him to conversion? Do I look for people whom I do not know and introduce myself to them, and help connect newcomers with members of the parish? Reflection questions for the people: Does the way I treat those around me help them to experience the love of Jesus? If I see people I do not know, do I introduce myself and ask their names? If someone new comes into the church, do I make them feel at home, that they belong? When I come to Mass, do I pray for the people sitting around me so that they will experience God's love? Do I smile? Am I hap- py to see families at church and do I thank parents bringing their young children to church, even if they make a little noise? Am I patient when Mass is over, or do I nearly run people over in the parking lot? Do I gossip about the priest and other parishioners, or do I say good things about them? There are many other ways that people can encoun- ter Christ through a welcoming parish community: greeters at the entrance to the church, coffee and donuts or other socials, working together to reach out and serve those in need, listing new parish members, newly baptized and newly married in the parish bul- letin to welcome, congratulate and encourage them, visiting sick and homebound, the hospitality of funer- al luncheons, inviting friends and neighbors to Mass and other events at the parish, small prayer groups and Bible studies, inviting people to use the gifts God has given them to serve the parish community. I provide here just some ideas. 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 build a community of love and form welcoming parishes. 3. Introduce your Friend to Jesus: Sharing Jesus with others and helping them to make a personal decision to follow him in faith. As I stated above in the introduction, to evangelize means helping people encounter Jesus by sharing the Gospel message so that they make a personal decision to follow him in faith . In this regard, Pope Paul VI stated: There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God are not proclaimed. (Evangelization in the Modern World, 22) Thus, to share our faith means to share Jesus - to proclaim his name, that is, his divine identity as Son of God and Savior; to proclaim his teachings, in sea- son and out of season; to proclaim his life, with the marvels of his healings, his love, and his sacrificial death and resurrection; to proclaim his promises, that those who believe in him shall have eternal life; to proclaim his kingdom, that he is the Lord who calls us to commit ourselves completely and follow him, participating in his self-giving and sacrificial love for the Father and for the world. To share Jesus with others, we first must have been evangelized and made a personal decision to follow him. In other words, we need to be a friend of Jesus. To share Jesus, we must have a relation- ship of trust and love with others. We need to make a friend. To share Jesus or introduce our friend to Jesus, we need to learn more about him and grow as his disciple (catechesis). We also need to learn how to share Jesus (formation for mission). A. Faith Formation/Catechesis Once someone has encountered Jesus and believes in him, there is need for ongoing faith formation and catechesis so that one's faith may grow deeper. In the Diocese of Marquette we are blessed with nine Catholic grade schools to help form children in the faith and religious education programs for grade school and high school students. Adults also ind many faith formation opportunities such as the Spring Study day and the Hospitality Lecture. Par- ishes offer many adult faith formation opportunities, such as Bible studies. There are also countless good books as well as resources on the internet. To share our faith with others, to be a Spirit-filled evangelizer, we must seek continually to grow deeper in our faith. The more we know our faith, the easier it is for us to explain it to others who ask us about it . As it says in the First Letter of Peter Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence." (1 Peter 3:15-16) Thus, I invite everyone to seek a deeper under- standing of our faith through the many available opportunities. In addition, I encourage all parishes, schools and the diocesan curia to enhance the good work that is already being done and discontinue what is not effective. B. Formation for Mission: Sharing our Faith with Others If we love Jesus, we will want to tell others about him, as Pope Francis said: The primary reason for evangelizing is the love of Jesus which we have received, the experience of salvation which urges us to ever greater love of him. What kind of love would not feel the need to speak of the beloved, to point him out, to make him known? (The Joy of the Gospel, 264) In fact, the Second Vatican Council taught that sharing our faith with others is the mission of every- one in the Church. The Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, for example, underscores the role of the laity in bringing the Gospel of Jesus into the world. But the laity likewise share in the priestly, prophetic, and royal office of Christ and there- fore have their own share in the mission of the whole people of God in the Church and in the world. They exercise the apostolate in fact by

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