We conclude the Year of Faith proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI on this, the last Sunday of the Church’s year. This summer we read The Pope’s Encyclical, Lumen Fidei, a collaboration between Pope Benedict and our present pope, Francis I.
Bishop Loverde has written a Pastoral Letter to everyone in the Arlington Diocese, a Pastoral Letter on the New Evangelization, bearing today’s date. You may recall the book we read in the refectory (by Sheri Waddell) to promote this New Evangelization during this Year of Faith.
In what sense is it “new”? Not that we proclaim a new Gospel but that we proclaim the Gospel of the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ, the foundation of our faith, anew. How often has Catholic identity been tied up with ethnic identity, with fondly remembered customs or devotions while we forget–or in some cases, even avoid–Jesus Christ and his Gospel? How often have we watered down the demands, even counter-cultural challenges, of the Gospel to accommodate suburban comfort or complacency? There is a genuine need to recover the Gospel in its purity and offer it to our ailing, wounded society.
As Bishop Loverde himself notes, “All I’ve ever wanted to do is lead people to Jesus.” And his pastoral letter is part of his effort to do just that. We have been sent copies and anyone who receives a copy of the Arlington Herald will find a copy of this Pastoral Letter enclosed. We will begin reading it in the refectory this week during our noon time meal.
What we live here as a community, the values we attest to by our lives, how we relate to one another, how we reach out to new members, how we respond to our responsibilities impacting the broader community of Clarke County and the Church of Arlington can be concrete expressions of this New Evangelization and are the fruit of this Year of Faith. And our life of prayer. Let us continue to pray for our Dioceses and it’s continual renewal.