UP Catholic 12 18 2015 E Edition Page 6

6 December 18, 2015 THE U.P. CATHOLIC COMMENTARY www.upcatholic.org B efore The Holy Father appointed Father Robert Bar- ron as the auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles he was the rector of Mundelein Seminary in the Chicago. He is well-known in the Church for his video series on the Catholic Church in the world, entitled Catholicism as well as frequent lectures throughout the country. He echoed the words of other Catholic observers last July with this comment: The most significant challenge fac- ing the Catholic Church today is the attrition of our people the ever lessening number of Catholics who practice their faith. The fathers of the Second Vatican Council warned, If the Church loses its faith who will speak for the true faith? Woe to us if we do not evangelize. It was in 1983 that St. John Paul II first called the Church to a new evange- lization. A study released this fall by the Institute for Christian Life of Notre Dame University published some alarming statistics. For exam- ple nearly 50 percent of Catholic teenagers lose their Catholic identity by their late 20s. On a given Sunday 75 percent of the Catholics in the United States are not in Church attending Holy Mass. St. John Paul II did not call for a new Gospel to reach the youth but a new effort and a new way to reach the lukewarm and de- christianized western nations. The pope spoke of entire groups of the baptized who have lost a living sense of the faith, or even no longer consider themselves members of the Church, and live a life far removed to from Christ and his Gospel. Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit is where our diocese sends its young men for seminary studies. One of our priests, Father Ryan Ford, is now on the faculty of Sacred Heart and is also preparing himself in graduate studies of evangelization. We look forward in three years to his return to the diocese to exercise the ministry of evangelization in Marquette. We can expect that when Father Ford returns to our diocese he will help us implement St. John Paul IIs teaching on new evan- felization. Even though heroic evangelization efforts were made here by Venerable Bishop Frederic Baraga from 1831 to 1868, we are faced again with a society in which the Christian character is collapsing. Here and throughout our nation we are being called anew to proclaim Christ and his teaching to all peoples. Dr. Ralph Martin spoke to us at our Hospitality Lecture last year. He is a professor at Sacred Heart Seminary and directs its fraduate program of new evangelization. He has written that we cannot delegate our obligation to evangelize to specialists or committees or occasional evangelization events. Rather evangeli- zation should become part of the baptized Catholics fundamen- tal identity and a part of our everyday way of life. Bishop John Doerfler assigned a practical evangelization task to us in the first homily he gave in the diocese. He suggested it at his ordination Mass at St. Peter Cathedral. He urged us, Be a friend of Jesus. Make a friend. Introduce your friend to Jesus. Go make disciples of all the nations PASTORALLY SPEAKING Bishop James H. Garland Including Massage Therapy

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