It all begins with an encounter with the One who is at the center of all the Church’s activities – Jesus Christ. Pope Benedict XVI reminds us of this reality:
“Solving the pastoral problems that present themselves in your dioceses must never limit itself to organizational questions, however important these may be… These would have scarce impact on the life of Christians who are distanced from regular practice of the faith. Instead, evangelization requires starting from the encounter with the Lord, within a dialogue rooted in prayer, which then concentrates on the witness of giving itself toward the end of helping the people of our time to recognize and discover anew the signs of the presence of God.”
Ad Limina Address to the Bishops of Western France, 21 September 2012
Central to the success of Disciples in Mission in our Archdiocese will be that each person involved in these efforts – from the Archdiocesan staff to pastors to parish/finance council members to every layperson who sets foot in one of our churches – must seek to encounter the Risen Lord anew in their lives! This is especially true during this Year of Faith.
You and I must seek ways of renewing our prayer lives in the hope that we, through God’s grace, will become more formidable and courageous witnesses of the love of Christ to each and every person we meet along the journey of faith.
I have the quote referenced above hanging in my office to daily remind me that all I do is in vain – is useless – if I am not rooted in ongoing conversion. Faith is a gift from a generous God who loves us into existence. In humility we are called, as “disciples in mission,” to allow the God of all life to use us as instruments of His love for those who do not know or who have fallen away from Him.
My prayer for all of us, as we enter this exciting and challenging movement in our Archdiocese, is that each of us will seek Christ anew with the specific intention of the Holy Spirit guiding all the work that is to come over the years ahead of us.