Getting the word out

On Sunday, November 5 Lutheran Bishop James Hazelwood preached at an ecumenical prayer service at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, presided over by our bishop, the Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V. The service was called in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, after more than 50 years of Catholics and Protestants praying that we might “all be one,” as Jesus prayed to Our Heavenly Father at the Last Supper (Jn 17:21).

Bishop Hazelwood’s jovial sermon discussed how technology made the rupture of the Reformation move at a much faster pace than if Martin Luther had lived in earlier centuries. In particular he noted the power of the printing press (which had been invented by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440) and the expanded usage of eyeglasses in the 16th century, both of which caused people to hunger for reading material, which Luther provided in abundance.

This edition of The Anchor discusses in many of its pages how today’s population also hungers for the Gospel — and how technology can help us bring the Gospel to people. The coverage on pages three and 15 of the Faith Formation Convention discusses how we can use the various social media to bring Jesus’ message to the younger generations.

On page 10 Claire McManus discusses how we also need to use the “low-tech” approach of chatting one-on-one with folks, to find out what their stories are, so that we can see how God has been with them all along, although they may not have recognized His presence. Once we become aware of that presence, we are called to serve God in serving them.

On the next page Father Goldrick offers some suggestions as to how we, clergy or laity, can better show our appreciation for the efforts of others to support the Church. The goal of thanking them for their stewardship is not just to get them to give more, but to help them (and us) to grow in their roles as stewards, since Christ repeatedly describes His followers as servants of the Heavenly Father. On page eight we are reminded of one of the parables where Jesus calls us stewards and demands that we multiply what He has given us.

Father Landry on page seven described the life of an excellent servant, the soon-to-be (tomorrow) Blessed Solanus Casey, who took that one-on-one time with people to help them see what God was telling them to do, what God wanted them to change in their lives, and how much God loved them. Although “low-tech,” Blessed Solanus’ social network was vast, as people experienced God in their interactions with him.

Locally the Sacred Heart Home (see pages two and 19) is one of those places where the individual approach to sharing the Gospel has helped many souls to approach the Final Judgment, be they the residents, the workers, family members, volunteers, etc. 

On pages 20 and 21 we recall good men who served God and their country. Two of them carried out the very important task of living out their vocations as husbands and fathers, transmitting their faith while living out the Sacrament of Matrimony. The other, Msgr. Henry T. Munroe, rejoiced in bringing people to Jesus through his work in parishes and in the diocesan tribunal. He was always happy when he saw a new soul living the faith in the Catholic Church.

Amanda Tarantelli on page 16 reminds us that an important way for us to “reach out and touch someone” (to quote the old telephone company ad) is to pray for them. This may or may not result in a blessing for the other person (depending upon their openness to the Lord), but at least it will cause our hearts to become more modeled on Christ’s heart in the way in which we interact with these other folks.

On pages 12 and 15 we read about lay adults and young people (scouts) working to spread Christ’s peace through the Bethlehem “Peace Light,” which can become a simple, but effective way of sharing the Gospel message of loving God and our neighbor. On page 14 we hear about educators from a variety of schools working together with generous people in the community to better serve our newest generation, while on the bottom of page eight we are reminded of the need to show our gratitude to an older generation of evangelizers by helping them with their expenses in retirement.

Father Killilea on page 13 discusses how God speaks to us through the beauty of nature, while also recalling an old movie song. There are so many ways in which we can spread the message of God — in response to God, Who took the initiative to begin the conversation. What God said to Jeremiah is true for all of us Christians: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you” (Jer 1:5). Through our Baptisms we have been made prophets in the Lord. We are called by God not to “tell the future” like a fortune teller, but to speak to the “signs of the times.”

The Second Vatican Council’s “Constitution on the Church in the Modern World” (known by its Latin title, Gaudium et Spes, from the first two words of the document) noted, “The Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel. Thus, in language intelligible to each generation, she can respond to the perennial questions which men ask about this present life and the life to come, and about the relationship of the one to the other. We must therefore recognize and understand the world in which we live, its explanations, its longings, and its often dramatic characteristics.” All of us, as members of the Church, are called to do this at home, at work, at school, wherever. May we correspond to the grace God is offering us to do this, so that His message spreads like wildfire.

© 2019 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing    †    Fall River, Massachusetts