Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Feast Day, Little Flower

I was going to have a post with lots of pictures to celebrate this the feast day of St. Therese of Lisieux. In fact, I began it last night and was going to finish it this morning.
I've decided to instead let the above picture speak of and for her.
Happy Feast Day!

Just Sharing a Picture

A Baby Saved, a Family Begun

When I posted about the kick-off rally for 40 Days for Life in Harrisburg, PA, I indicated that there was a story Michael Ciccocioppo, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, told at the rally that I wanted to retell here. Well, thanks to Mr. Ciccocioppo, I can do better than that. Below is his speech which he presented at the 40 Days for Life Kick-Off Rally.

At the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation we are on the front lines of the cause for LIFE --- 24 – 7. We educate on the truth about abortion, infanticide and euthanasia everyday, in many ways
from Philadelphia to Erie and Scranton to Pittsburgh and everywhere in between. We are vigilante in promoting laws and public policy that respect the right to life of every living person, born and unborn

Sometimes we don’t see all the fruits of our labors, sometimes we do.

The same can be said by those who pray for an end to abortion and by those who pray for women entering abortion centers. Sometimes a turn-around is obvious. But no one really knows how their prayers touch the hearts of those who are being prayed for... that is, until they tell us.

Let me tell you the story of one day at the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation.

It was a few years ago when we received a call from Christine. Christine said that we didn’t know her but she wanted us to pass on a message.

She told the story of how she and her boyfriend, Tim, found out she was pregnant in August of the previous year. She was terrified, scared, and alone. She did not know what to do.

She and Tim were not married. They both had things going on in there lives that did not include children, and they were just not ready for that kind of commitment.

She said she didn't believe in abortion, yet, all of a sudden, it seemed like the best thing to do. She had a job, wasn't done with school, and enjoyed her freedom .

Tim was working, and trying to get his life together. He wanted to work on his music and play pool.

How could they be parents of a child she thought?

They started to believe that the baby would be better off if it were not born. They started to believe that the best thing for everyone would to be to end the pregnancy, never tell anyone and go on with life just as before.

She called the Hillcrest Abortion Center in Harrisburg and made the appointment. The next morning, they made the drive to Harrisburg. She said she felt sick, sad, and scared. She thought, "What if it hurts? What if I can't have kids again? What if something goes wrong?"

She had just become a Christian in July!! She didn't know what to do, so she said she prayed. She prayed for a sign, something from the Lord to tell her NO!! Traffic, a broken down car, anything.

When they arrived, she said, the Lord answered her prayers. She said she believed that He sent his messengers to pray that day in front of the abortion center to show her the horror of what she was about to do. He gave her a sign.

These people gave their time to save unborn babies.

She and Tim never entered that facility or even drove in the drive way. They drove past, parked the car, and sat and cried for an hour. She called Hillcrest and they were cold and uncaring. They said, “You just ignore those crazy religious fanatics!”

Christine said she knew the people at Hillcrest could not be of God.

So they drove home, somber, yet relieved. She knew then that this was something she had to deal with.

She was going to be a mom and the Lord would walk with her the whole way and He did.

Her pregnancy was without incident. She said the greatest of all gifts she received was her son, Christian Timothy - born on April 21st, 2003 at 7:47 in the evening. She said that she will never forget the feeling of seeing him for the first time, of hearing his cry. And she exclaimed, “The blessings have not stopped ”

She ended the conversation by saying that she can't express enough gratitude to those people who volunteered that day to pray at Hillcrest, who gave up their free time to stand for something they believed in. She said she wished she could thank each and everyone personally, “They changed my life.”

She said to tell them all that they are angels and I will never forget you. She e-mailed us a photo of Baby Christian.

Just last month, she sent us another e-mail. She wanted us to know they are all doing fine and five year old Christian has a little brother now.

She continues to be grateful to those who were praying that fateful day.

And so, as you pray at this place of death and evil during these next 40 days and beyond, other Christines and Tims may drive past and decide not to go through with it. Other little ones, like Baby Christian, will be spared and you may never even know about them.

It’s not important that you know about them. It’s only important that you answer the call to prayer. And trust that the Lord, in His infinite mercy, will save the lives of so many. And spare their moms and dads of lives of regret and unrelenting sadness and sorrow.

It is not for us to know God's ways. It is a gift just to be able to trust in Him and have hope that we might be of service to Him.

Merciful God, Author of Life, -
Bless all involved in 40 Days for Life.
Guide tireless prayer, unerring witness and meaningful sacrifice.
Dispel the darkness which envelops our country.
Touch hearts with the light of Your love.
Remove the scourge of abortion from our land.
Forgive our sinful ways.
We ask this in the name of Your Most Holy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Visit Pennsylvania Pro-life Federation at www.paprolife.org

Or call: 717-541-0034

Monday, September 29, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Minnesota ACLU Picks Up Tab for South Dakota Volunteers

Is there any logical explanation for an organization whose "About Us" page says it exists solely to "protect the civil liberties of Minnesotans" can justify its campaign "to persuade South Dakotans to vote against the abortion ban?"**

Not that I can see. It defies logic.

"The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota will be sponsoring volunteers to go to South Dakota and talk to voters. Travel, and most meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including vegetarian options) will be provided. There will also be lots of hot chocolate, coffee, and cookies for those hitting the streets and turning the tide in this critical election effort."** "Lodging scholarships" are being provided to those requesting them.

Their site is says this as a this a way for individuals to be "part of defeating South Dakota's ban on virtually all abortions and protecting reproductive freedom."** They justify their efforts "in Sioux Falls because freedom can't protect itself."** Call me silly but it seems that the reality is that big money is being thrown at this measure from the abortion industry which can't afford its passage.

In that it is comical that this Minnesota group is showing extreme partiality by stretching their politically partisan neck across state lines yet touts itself as a "nonpartisan, impartial organization," my response is that of an comic strip cat responding to a particular offensive hairball, "GAACKKK!" Though comical, it is decidedly disgusting.

Someone ought sue them for misappropriating funds that are specifically to be spent for Minnesota civil liberty protection.

** Source: MN ACLU Mobilization page.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mary Unites Christians - Zenit Article

I think the reason I liked the article below is because, on the surface, many would see the Catholic tradition of honoring Our Lady as one of the biggest stumbling blocks to the reunification Christian religions; therefore, I find it noteworthy that Cardinal Kasper asserts that she "is an essential part of the ecumenical movement." This serves as a reminder that man's ways and perceptions cannot be counted on as being the ways of God. Sin leads us to be self-centered separatists while God and His heavenly saints long for us to be joined in Christ-centered communion.

Mary Unites Christians, Cardinal Tells Anglicans

Ecumenical Pilgrimage to Lourdes Called a Miracle
By Inmaculada Álvarez

LOURDES, France, SEPT. 25, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Devotion to the Virgin Mary has an essential role in ecumenical dialogue and the journey to full and visible unity among Christians, says the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Cardinal Walter Kasper affirmed this Wednesday when he presided over an ecumenical celebration in Lourdes, where Anglicans and Catholics had joined on pilgrimage. Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury gave the homily at the event. The pilgrimage began at the Anglican shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in England.

"Lourdes is known for its miracles," Cardinal Kasper said. "Who would have imagined, only 20 or 30 years ago, that Catholics and Anglicans would go on pilgrimage and pray together?

"For those who are familiar with the debates and controversies of the past on Mary, between Catholics and non-Catholic Christians, for those who know the reservations of the non-Catholic world toward Marian pilgrimage sites, for all these people, today's unprecedented event is a miracle."

The cardinal contended that, in fact, Mary is an essential part of the ecumenical movement, though this topic "is neither common nor obvious among ecumenists." Click HERE to read complete article.

One other thing - Did you read what the Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams said of the Blessed Mother's appearance to St. Bernadette in his homily at Lourdes? If not, please read this snippet of it:

"She came at first as an anonymous figure, a beautiful lady, a mysterious thing, not yet identified as the Lord's spotless mother. And Bernadette -- uneducated, uninstructed in doctrine -- leaped with joy, recognizing that here was life, here was healing. Only bit by bit does Bernadette find the words to let the world know; only bit by bit, we might say, does she discover how to listen to the Lady and echo what she has to tell us."

In an article that I read before Williams went to Lourdes, his secretary noted that the Anglican Archbishop is devoted to Our Lady. Gives you hope, doesn't it?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

40 Days for Life - Harrisburg, PA Kick-Off Rally

The Harrisburg, PA area 40 Days for Life opened at the Pennsylvania State Capitol rotunda.

A local dance troupe performed interpretive dances before the speakers came to the podium.
Karen Bodle, Pennsylvania team leader of Operation Outcry, said that the shoes the children placed on the steps are part of the international pro-life "A cry without a Voice" campaign. Each pair of children's shoes is tagged with the name of a child lost to abortion. All present were encouraged to complete a tag for an untagged pair if they knew of a such a child not yet so memorialized.

Sandy Paveglio, co-chair of Harrisburg's 40 Days for Life, was the MC for the Capitol Kick-off Rally. Unfortunately, Nancy Faller , the other local driving forcing, was not able to participate due to a pro-life conference elsewhere.
Rev. Peter Hahn, Pastor of St. Leo the Great parish in Lancaster, PA is serving as the spiritual director for this effort in the Harrisburg area. Fr. Hahn is not only a diocesan priest, but he is associated with Priest for Life. In that I felt his speech at the Capitol captured the tenor of the day, I offer it here to you:

What a joy it is to see so many of you as we have gathered here to celebrate God's most precious gift to us of life, to look out and to see that life and that love and joy of God in your hearts.

In our Catholic faith, we have received a keen insight and a clear understanding of the truth of God and of the human person. While reason alone will lead us to a level of understanding of God, faith will illuminate that understanding further. For all of us here that illumination is a special gift of our Baptism where each of us received what the Church calls the theological virtues of faith, hope and love. It is in the power and light of these virtues that we are assembled here today.

We are a people of faith given that special gift of truth knowing that God has a plan and a mission for all of us and that it is illegitimate for individuals or societies to seek to refute and oppose that plan. We believe in what has been revealed by God about the sanctity and dignity of every human person, who is, in fact, created by God in His image and likeness, destined for eternal life with Him. These are not propositions of one faith perspective against another that we wish to oppose on society. They are eternal truths - part of what is termed as "the natural law" known to the human person both in faith and in reason, which are the best for the common good of any society. And, sadly, we know that any society that seeks to oppose these truths - truths which our founding fathers knew and embodied in our Declaration of Independence and in our Constitution - goes down a path that will only and inevitably lead to destruction.

We are a people of hope that trust in the infinitely wise vision of God who sees all things as part of His divine plan of salvation. We do not despair despite the facts and the history of the national disgrace that is legalized abortion. We know that even something so obscene as this is mysteriously permitted in the Providence of God and that He is working constantly to bring good from and through it. We know the battle is His, not ours, and that despite the facts which we see that show the pervasive influence of the forces of sin and death, we know there is nothing in this world that is stronger than the power and the love of God.

We are a people of love. We have not gathered here motivated by some selfish or financial concern. We are not part of that billion dollar industry that is Planned Parenthood and all of the other abortion providers. We are simply here, some at significant cost, to try to reach out and love the unborn child and his mother whom, we must always remember, is often another victim in this tragedy, deceived and pressured at such a vulnerable time by the purveyors of death.

We pray earnestly for all who feel so helpless and afraid that they think it the only alternative. We pray for those physicians and support personnel whose eternal souls are at such great risk as they have mistakenly chosen the path of death instead of life. We continue in all of the many ways available to help all who face unplanned pregnancies and those who in the past have made this wrong decision, and now grieve and suffer because of it, praying that all who have been harmed by this horror might know God's healing and peace.

Our Lord said that He came so that we might have life and have it to the fullest. And so we long for a reawakening in the faith and in the conscience of our nation so that all might experience this gift of life and know its fullness in the light of Christ, our Lord and Savior.

The battle is fierce. Satan's work is extensive and, sadly, successful in so many instances. We know the evil that is abortion and we know Our Lord's exhortation that certain demons can only be driven out by prayer and fasting. And so we gather this day to begin 40 days of that activity.

Let us pray each day ardently and intently that this scourge of abortion may end. Let us fast, denying ourselves of material comforts to offer up to God some sacrifice to ask that His healing come to us. And let us persevere, always in the joy of the life that He gives us, knowing with absolute certainty that 2,000 years ago, on that hill outside of Jerusalem, His infinite love for us, expressed in his passion. death and resurrection, has assured final victory.

May God bless each and every one of you here for your sacrifice and your faithful witness. May He extend His mercy and forgiveness to all who have sinned so grievously against Him. and may, by His grace, our nation once again regain its moral compass and recognize the truth that faith and reason confirm of the dignity of every human person so that we might once again embrace life and provide that basic legal protection to those who are defenseless so that they too might enjoy what all of us know -- the blessings of this life now and one day, we pray, that never ending life with God in the glory of His Kingdom of heaven.

State House of Representative Mauree Gingrich most importantly noted that as a society we are responsible for the lives and dignity of all.

Representative Will Gabig, who because of committee duties had to hurry to a meeting after speaking to the 40 Days for Life Rally, spoke next. His main thrust was that architects of the Declaration of Independence listed the right to life as the first inalienable right - we must stand for the protection of all. He also made note of George Washington assertion that the "pursuit of happiness" was analogous to the "pursuit of virtue."

Diane Wells, South Central Regional leader of Silent No More, was joined at the podium by Karen Boswell, a member of her team. Ms. Wells told of the price her two abortions had upon her life - panic attacks, sleeplessness that alternated with horrific nightmares and two suicide attempts.

Michael Ciccocioppo, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, told of a couple whose child was saved by the presence of pro-life people outside of Hillcrest Clinic. The woman, twice in the last five years, has contacted the Pennsylvania Pro-life Federation to give thanks and tell of the impact the pro-life presence at the abortion mill made in her family's life. I hope to post the story later this week.

At its conclusion, Rally participants were encouraged to go to the site of Harrisburg's 40 Days presence - Hillcrest Abortion Clinic on Front Street.
Once there, participants were lead in prayer and song by Fr. Hahn.
Most of the people who acknowledged the presence of the prayerful did so in a positive manner: thumbs-up motioning, light taps of horns, waving. Two times menacing voices were heard from traffic - one an indistinguishable growl of sorts - the second said a sentence but the only discernible word was an angry sounding "family."

Seeing this father using Hillcrest's driveway to take what seemed to be a short-cut home brought to mind that there are fathers who had likewise once casually walked their daughters at such a young age never imagining that their innocent girls might one day abort their grandchild. I certainly hope that is never an option for this little girl.

No one knew who this person was who drove this pro-lifemobile by Hillcrest multiple times. Their website, http://www.whos4life.com/, says of their organization: "Whos4life is a fun & creative, grassroots, non-profit ministry that is attempting to bring to the forefront of our state and national dialogue the issue of abortion and the future lives of millions of unborn Americans."

Look at the back of the girl's shirt - note the name. I loved that grace was with us because it is only through God's graces that our country will turn from abortion. I know, that may sound hokey, but the thought warmed my heart.

This isn't everyone present - some people were camera shy.

I apologize to those in the picture - I did shoot another one that is framed okay, but in that one not everyone is facing the camera. I think I was focusing more on not trepassing on Hillcrest's front lawn than taking the picture.

For information on the national/international 40 Days for Life, please click HERE.

Links to organizations mentioned in this posting - click on the name to be redirected to the site:

A Cry Without a Voice

Harrisburg 40 Days for Life

Operation Outcry

Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

Priests for Life

Silent No More

Additional Resources

Post-abortion healing -www.rachelsvineyard.org/

Pregnancy help -www.birthright.org/

Monday, September 22, 2008

40 Days for Life Campaign

Pro-Life Advocates Nationwide Excited About Next 40 Days for Life Campaign

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Pro-life advocates across the country are excited about the upcoming 40 Days for Life prayer campaign. The event, which takes place in communities and at abortion centers nationwide, doesn't officially start until this Wednesday yet thousands of people have already begun to get involved.

David Bereit, the head of the campaign, tells LifeNews.com that he went to Indiana to meet with hundreds of people getting started at a kick-off rally. "Yesterday afternoon, I was blessed to join more than 200 people at the 40 Days for Life kick-off in Indianapolis -- which concluded with a two-mile procession to the Planned Parenthood abortion center where the campaign will be focused," he said. "I then drove up to Fort Wayne where 300 people packed a Lutheran school gymnasium for an electrifying kick-off event," he added. "At the end of the rally, the attendees collectively committed to hundreds of hours of participation in their local 40 Days for Life vigil."

Bereit says he is getting similar reports from other cities across North America and many locations are still gearing up for their kick-off events which will be held over the next three days. Full story at LifeNews.com

Please visit the 40 Days for Life site.

The 40 Days for Life site, http://www.40daysforlife.com/, has links to local initiatives, videos and lots of information about 40 Days for Life.

40 Days for life is something that everyone can participate in. It is a matter of:
  • Persistent Prayer - Prayer and Fasting
  • Peaceful Presence - Public witness outside of abortion centers
  • Prudent Presentation - Share the Pro-life message

Whatever your abilities or comfort level, you can be part of 40 Days for Life!

Set the Spirit Free Conference

Saturday, September 20, 2008, the Harrisburg Diocese hosted its 2008 Day of Charismatic Renewal at the Diocesan Center in Harrisburg. The theme was "Set the Spirit Free."The day began with faith filled music provided by the Upper Room Prayer Group Music Ministry.

They played, led songs and gave praise for about an hour before Mass began.
The five altar servers were from multiple parishes in the diocese.
Harriburg's Bishop Rhoades was the principal celebrant of the concelebrated Mass.
The religious pictured below are, left to right, Msgr. Robert Lawrence, Fr. Francis Karwacki, Fr. William Weary, Master of Ceremony Fr. Neill Sullivan, Deacon James Rush, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades and Bishop Sam Jacobs (Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana).
In Bishop Rhoades homily he told the congregation that we must take up the cross daily -- it is not an optional element of the Catholic Christian. We are called to embrace the cross everyday. We must love as Christ loved. Give of ourselves in imitation of the self-giving love of Calvary. The Eucharist strengthens us to do that.
In that Saturday was the feast day of the 103 Korean martyrs, Bishop Rhoades spoke of their willingness to take up the cross. They, individuals ranging in ages from 13 - 72, were true to Christ - they denied themselves and bore their crosses. The Bishop told us that we should pray to the martyrs - all martyrs - asking them to help us by their intercession to take up our cross.
Beyond the 103 Korean martyrs who are recognized as members of the communion of saints, the Church in Korea, young as it is, has had more than 10,000 martyrs. They knew ridicule, unpopularity and faced opposition - things that have kept lesser people from stepping up to embrace their cross. Bishop Rhoades implored everyone to hear again the words of Christ in the Gospel when He said that if we denied Him before men that He would deny us before the Father. Shame should not be a part of our relationship to/with Christ. We need courageous disciples of Christ in the Church. When the apostle Paul wrote, The love of Christ urges me on, he was witnessing to the fact that he didn't lose faith or courage, no matter the circumstances, because he KNEW Christ was with him. In the eighth chapter of his letter to the Romans, with conviction, Paul tells us to take up our cross and follow the Lord everyday for if God is for us, who can be against us? (31). Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (39). Bishop Rhoades concluded his homily by asserting that the love of Christ urges us.

Just before the the concluding blessing of the Mass, Bishop Rhoades came forward to address those present. He thanked the individuals who shared their inspiration, spoke of his experience at World Youth Day 2008 and encouraged everyone to evangelize.

After a break following Mass, because of concerns expressed by conference attendees, Bishop Sam Jacobs first spoke of the the state of his Diocese (Houma-Thibodaux) which was the hardest hit by Hurricane Gustav. He also spoke encouragingly of the outpouring of goodwill by some people, including a priest who was industrious enough to get a hold of a horse so as to visit areas in which people were stranded to ascertain conditions and needs.
There was a couple who went to shelters with the Bishop. The husband and wife were grateful for having not being adversely impacted by the hurricane and felt compelled to find and address the needs of those not so fortunate. Bishop Sam said the Red Cross was very good at addressing the very basic needs of those in shelters, but this couple took it a step further in that, after talking to shelter directors, they went to Wal-Mart and spent $1,000 on items such as fans, towels and food (emergency food ration packages were provided by the Red Cross, but some directors asked for things such as spaghetti and tomato sauce for meals).
Another person who understood that people were in need and wanted give immediate aid decided to raise funds by selling bracelets akin to Lance Armstrong's LIVESTRONG bracelets - having WINDSTRONG on the hurricane recovery bracelets. In the first day, Bishop Sam said, $10,000 was raised. The man and his friends procured a 16 ft truck with which they are directly taking down the bayous to the people in need. The Windstrong Foundation is directly asking people what their needs are and returning with the truck filled with those items which range from water to clothing.
The Bishop said that in spite of devastation there is faith, hope and love to be found. He asked that all pray for those hurt and the workers - both being groups that are very stressed and stretched thin. They were still try to recover from Katrina when Gustav and Ike hit. The USCCB has authorized a special collection at Masses this coming weekend (Sept. 27 & 28) to help the recovery efforts from the latest hurricanes.
Before moving to the "Set the Spirit Free" theme of the Conference, Bishop Sam concluded talk of the hurricane recovery by saying, "We are going to survive, but need the help of others."
Bishop Sam then moved to the topic of the day - Set the Spirit Free
Before we can set the Spirit free, the Spirit must set us free.
God's plan is that we be filled with the Holy Spirit.
In the first two chapters of Luke's Gospel it is noted that seven people are filled with the Holy Spirit. This is not coincidence that at the beginning of this book that such mention is made - it is documentation of God's plan. The seven people listed are:
  • John the Baptist
  • Mary
  • Jesus
  • Elizabeth
  • Zachariah
  • Simeon
  • Anna

The Acts of the Apostles also has being filled with the Holy Spirit as a theme.

The Holy Spirit gives sanctification. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit - wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord - are personal sanctifers. They are tools for the use of those who have been filled by the Holy Spirit.

We need to get out of our comfort zone - to let God have control. We need to freely be a fool for Christ. In that the life Christ calls us to is in opposition to the ways of the world, to be for Christ is to be foolish in the eyes of the world.

The word "yes" can be seen as an acronym answer to the question of "How will you lead your life?"

  • Y - Yield, E - Everything to, S - Self
  • Y - Yield, E - Everything to, S - Satan
  • Y - Yield, E - Everything to, S - Savior

God has given us freewill. He wants us to be reunited with Him -- freely chosen reunification. We must each decide how we will live our lives. Once we decide to yield everything to our Savior, we can then move toward setting the Spirit free in our lives and the world.

Having received sanctifying grace in the sacraments, we must now set the Spirit free to move in our lives. We need to act on the leadership of the Lord in the use of our freewill. We are filled with the Holy Spirit so that we can be holy -- holy so that we can enter into a relationship with God. This then lets us be witnesses to Christ.

Lacking in today's Church is evangelization, yet God wants it to be done.
God can do anything through you if you are open to Him working through you. What is the use of zeal for the Holy Spirit if you aren't a zealot? We have our marching orders but aren't marching.
Conversion is missing from the Church. That is why so few Catholics regularly attend Mass. We have all been baptized, but we aren't all on fire.
There once were two Baptist ministers - one having the charge of a predominantly African-American congregation which would have loud, nearly riotous, services of praise, the other having a congregation which was predominantly Anglo-American with very sedate services. One day the pastor of the reserved congregation asked the other how it could be that their services were so vastly different. The pastor of the lively followers paused in thought, then said, "Well, we both have filet mignon." He paused, again, then went on, "It's just that yours is still in the freezer. Ours is in the fire."

There is a need to reach out to people, to bring them to conversion. We must witness the Gospel to them.
As persons of God we are good beings; however, we may do bad thing. We should act out of the core of our being - out of the good of God. We should not be doing simply out of a desire to be doing.
We should be looking for opportunities to share what God has done for us. We are to stir the Holy Spirit within the people with whom we are sharing God's impact in our life. One of Bishop Sam's priests held a town hall sort of meeting with the people in the area of his parish -- Catholics and non-Catholics. He did this to find out the needs of the people. The next weekend he had people at Mass whom he had never seen in the church. They told him that the meeting was the first time they had experienced the Church as a church that cared about them.
People need to know of the love of Christ, the love of His Church. We catechize before God is real to individuals. We should be evengelizing them first. They need to be given a taste, then catechize/feed them. Right after Pentecost, Peter gave first gave the 3,000 the experience of Christ -- then brought them into the fold of the faithful.
Of course, the conversion moment is important, but conversion is and ongoing concern.
Solemnly I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these (John 14:12).
It is up to us to step out and do. Too often though, people get stuck in the preparation for doing stage and never get to the actual doing.
At some point during the early to mid 1970's, the prolific period of feel good felt banners, an elderly nun was scuffing through the convent when she began to pass by a room where some of the younger sisters were making banners. In an effort of redirection, she detoured through that room to see what was going on. Bend over by the weight of many years, the frail woman again took up her slow methodical pace. As she began to pass a postulant intent upon her purpose, the elderly sister slowly turned her head a bit, yelled, "Do it!," and continued on her way.
The message on the banner? "Love one another."
Today is the day.
"The Church exists to evangelize" (Pope John VI). Evangelization is the nature of the Church. Our faith must be evident. We must bear witness so people may look at the Lord when they see us.
For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? (Romans 10:13-14)
We must give the Spirit total freedom to lead us to what He has called us to do -- Evangelize -- to introduce others to Him.
At the end of his talk, before Exposition, the Bishop gave people who had never done so before the opportunity to come forward and publicly give their lives to Christ.