Equipping for Evangelizing

For Christ’s disciples in the Church of Detroit to be able to answer his call to evangelize, we need to have the proper formation. For this purpose, every parish should become a “School of Evangelization”, where each disciple…each Church member…is equipped for his or her mission. To become an effective evangelizer, one must first BE evangelized, since we cannot give away what we do not have. So we can ask ourselves, “Do I have a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Do I pray daily? Do I read Scripture? Am I learning more about my faith?” At St. Paul on the Lake, we are dedicated to helping you grow in your faith every day, so as to overcome the tendency to think, “once converted, always converted.” At St. Paul, we want to help you see how God’s grace is at work in your daily lives, to experience the power of personal testimony, and to help you grow in virtue. Next week? No Bystanders!

Meeting Jesus Christ in the Church

The Church is the context given by God in which we encounter Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit brings about life-changing encounters with Jesus in many ways, but particularly in fellowship with one another, in Sacred Scripture, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and most especially in the Holy Eucharist. We learn to give and receive God’s love in and through our relationships with one another. Since all Scripture speaks of Christ, immersing ourselves in God’s word is a way to deepen our encounter and grow in relationship with Jesus. Because God’s mercies never end, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is an open doorway for a return to God’s grace, especially for those who have fallen away from their faith and the Church. Finally, all evangelization leads to the Holy Eucharist, since the Eucharist is the fullness of communion with Jesus and his whole Church. The goal for every Mass is that each one of us might become a “living tabernacle”, sent out to make Christ present to all we meet. Next week is about “Equipping for Evangelizing”.

Week #6

The New Evangelization is not a membership drive… it is a love affair!

All are invited to encounter Jesus and let their hearts be captured by Him. Meeting Jesus is like meeting the person you’re going to marry – you can’t imagine going through life without Him. There are many ways to encounter Jesus, but the key message of the Gospel, the kerygma, remains the same: “Jesus Christ loves you; He gave His life to save you; and now He is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen, and free you”.

Jesus loves you…saves you…today! The response this gift calls for from every person is to repent of our sins, and to believe in Jesus and be baptized, so that we can be filled with his Holy Spirit.  Next week we will see how the Holy Spirit leads us to live a new life in his family, the Church.

Week #5

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you” (Acts 1:8).  Why? Because the Holy Spirit is power! In baptism the Holy Spirit reveals our identities as beloved sons and daughters of the King.  The very same Spirit that transformed the first apostles can transform us.  The book of Acts tells the story of the early Church being transformed at Pentecost and being filled with boldness and joy.  Acts ends in chapter 28 with Paul under arrest in Rome.  Luke ends the book of Acts without finishing the story, because the story of the Church’s mission continues in every age.  We are living the 29th chapter of Acts!  So let us receive the power of the Holy Spirit.  Let us repent and believe in the Gospel.  Let us accept the free gift of salvation that God gives in His Son!  What is the “kerygma”, do you know?  Well you better… so tune in for Teaching #5.

Week #4

Jesus’ final command before He ascends to heaven is to “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28:19). This is the very reason that the Church exists – so that everyone might come to know and to love the person of Jesus Christ. This is why evangelization is so important. Evangelization is, very simply, proclaiming the good news of Jesus to those around us. All are called, both clergy and the laity, to be missionaries as we spread the good news of Jesus in what we say and what we do. Recently, the western world has witnessed a great loss of faith and an abandonment of Christian foundations. This is no less true in southeastern Michigan. In order to unleash the Gospel, Archbishop Vigneron calls for a renewal of heart and mind that embraces the following dispositions: docility to the Holy Spirit, apostolic boldness, a spirit of innovation, a spirit of cooperation, confidence in God, and an attitude of gratitude. Stay tuned for the next installment, “The New Pentecost”.

Week #3

Archbishop Vigneron defines the foundational conviction of “Unleash the Gospel”:  that the Church in the Archdiocese of Detroit is “resolved to obey the Holy Spirit and be made by him a band of joyful missionary disciples”. We prayed for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Detroit. We are convinced that the Holy Spirit spoke in Synod 16, the archdiocesan-wide gathering of clergy, religious, and lay people in November of 2016. God is calling us to change our “culture”. Following the lead of Pope Francis, we see ourselves as missionaries – called to go out and share Christ with joy. And we pray that families see themselves as “Domestic Churches”. What does this look like? We all work together for the spiritual and social transformation of our neighborhoods, schools, and places of work. In the next installment, look for the “Catechetical Exposition”, a summary on the missionary nature of the Church, and a reading of the signs of the times in southeast Michigan.

Archbishop Vigneron defines the foundational conviction of “Unleash the Gospel”:  that the Church in the Archdiocese of Detroit is “resolved to obey the Holy Spirit and be made by Him a band of joyful missionary disciples”. We prayed for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Detroit. We are convinced that the Holy Spirit spoke in Synod 16, the archdiocesan-wide gathering of clergy, religious, and lay people in November of 2016. God is calling us to change our “culture”. And following the call of Pope Francis, we see ourselves as missionaries. We pray that families see themselves as “Domestic Churches”. What does this look like? We all work together for the spiritual and social transformation of our neighborhoods, schools, and places of work. In the next installment, look for the “Catechetical Exposition”, a summary on the missionary nature of the Church, and a reading of the signs of the times in southeast Michigan.

Week #1

Next week at Mass we will begin a series of short teachings regarding the Archbishop’s pastoral letter, Unleash the Gospel.  This pastoral letter is to serve as the charter for implementing the fruit of Synod 16, and is the work of the whole Church in the Archdiocese of Detroit empowered by the Spirit of the risen Lord. It is to serve as a type of a “road map” for discipleship for years to come.  As you listen to the upcoming teachings at Mass, we invite you to pray about how the Holy Spirit is asking you to respond.