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I love this statement by Pope Paul VI: “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses” (On Evangelization in the Modern World, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 41).
The theme of Catechetical Sunday (9/16)—Enlisting Witnesses for Jesus Christ—is a perfect focus as parish catechists and Catholic school teachers are commissioned as witnesses for Christ and dedicate themselves to the ministry of enlisting more witnesses.
Catechetical Sunday provides an opportunity to reflect on the important role a catechist serves to hand on the faith and be a witness to the Gospel. It’s also an opportunity for all the baptized to rededicate ourselves to this mission as a community of faith.
We pray that Jesus Christ, our Master Catechist, will inspire and bless your efforts to share his Good News with the young people in your home and classroom. May these young people become committed witnesses for Christ.
Be sure to go to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) website for articles, a Commissioning Service, a Prayer for Catechists (English, Spanish), a Prayer for Family Commitment (English, Spanish), and certificates.
Image credit: Copyright © 2018, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. Image: The Crucifixion with the Virgin, Saint John, Saint Jerome, and Saint Mary Magdalene [middle panel], Pietro Perugino, National Gallery of Art.
At the recent World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Pope Francis called on families to “become a source of encouragement for others.” Bayard, Inc. wants to support families by developing and launching a new subscription-based online resource for parents and families. Two surveys (Pastoral Leaders, Parents) will help us collect valuable input from pastoral leaders and families. Please share these survey links with parents and pastoral leaders.
To ensure that the resource we develop will be of benefit to families and parishes, we need to identify the issues that are important for parents and families today, as well as the types of resources that support your parish or school’s ministry to, and with, parents and families. We want to identify what’s missing in available resources and what pastoral services would help make your ministry easier and more effective.
The “family” that we see in our parishes today is incredibly diverse. Families range from one or two children or more. Families are multicultural and multiracial. The families in our parishes and schools include nuclear, blended, extended, and single-parent families. Effective pastoral outreach is conscious of and responds to all the various family realities. We want every family to both be encouraged and become a source of encouragement to others.
Please help us by completing the appropriate survey and sharing these survey links with others:
Image credit: Alessia GIULIANI/CPP/CIRIC
Siempre me ha gustado esta frase del Papa Pablo VI: “el hombre contemporáneo escucha más a gusto a los testigos que a los maestros o si escucha a los maestros es porque son testigos” (Acerca de la evangelización en el mundo contemporáneo, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 41).
El tema del domingo catequético (16/9): Confirmando testigos para Jesucristo, es un enfoque perfecto, ya que los catequistas parroquiales y los maestros de las escuelas católicas reciben el encargo de ser testigos para Cristo y de dedicarse al ministerio de atraer y confirmar más testigos.
El domingo catequético nos ofrece la oportunidad de reflexionar sobre el papel tan importante que tiene un catequista: transmitir la fe y ser testigo del Evangelio. También es una oportunidad para que todos los bautizados volvamos a consagrarnos a esta misión como parte de una comunidad de fe.
Pedimos a Jesucristo, nuestro Maestro catequista, que inspire y bendiga tus actividades para que puedas compartir su Buena Nueva con los niños y jóvenes en tu hogar y tu salón de clases. Que estos jóvenes se conviertan en testigos comprometidos con Cristo.
Visita la página Web de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos (USCCB, por sus siglas en inglés) para obtener artículos, un servicio de comisión, una oración por los catequistas (inglés, español), una oración por el compromiso de la familia (inglés, español) y certificados.
Imagen: Copyright © 2018, Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos, Washington, DC. Todos los derechos reservados. Imagen: La Crucifixión con la Virgen, San Juan, San Jerónimo y Santa María Magdalena [panel central], Pietro Perugino, Galería Nacional de Arte.
In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus is challenged by Pharisees who are more concerned about the letter of the law than the spirit of the law. Much like the Pharisees, we can sometimes be quick to judge others. We believe in the value of the faith formation classes we offer and might harshly judge parents (and their children) who want to register past the deadline, haven’t sent their children to class consistently, or don’t even show up for Sunday Mass. They’re not living by our rules!
While we should be glad they’re making the effort—we might judge it insufficient, but it’s better than no effort at all—our judgment of them might come through in our tone of voice on the phone, sigh of frustration, or even unconsciously in our treatment of the children involved.
Jesus met people where they are. We need to do the same. Most people are doing the best they can in challenging circumstances. No one’s life is free of stress, and everyday life seems to be moving at a frantic pace for many people. Families today are pulled in many directions.
We need to sincerely welcome parents and children, whatever their circumstances. It’s only when they see that we really care about them that they will be open to seeking and receiving the “something more” that we and our Church so fervently desire for them.
We pray that you will tap into the heart of Jesus and sincerely welcome all the parents and children God is calling you to minister to.
Image credit: Corinne SIMON/CIRIC
At the very end of Sunday’s Gospel, after other disciples have left Jesus because his teachings are difficult, Jesus turns to the Twelve and asks, “Do you also want to leave?”
Jesus gives us a choice—to follow him or not. Following Jesus’ teachings and example isn’t for sissies. Jesus’ way is countercultural. It requires commitment and sometimes results in the pain of rejection. Not everyone is going to understand or agree with our choices. Sometimes, those who don’t agree are members of our own families, our neighbors, friends, and coworkers. We may feel alone in a crowd. The pressure and desire to fit in and belong may sometimes sway us to follow the crowd instead of Jesus.
Jesus knows his way is difficult to follow, and so he gives us the choice. He also welcomes us back if we have strayed from the path.
We pray that you will answer as Simon Peter does, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” May that conviction help you hold firm to your beliefs—and give you the strength to share your beliefs in all you say and do.
Image credit: Thomas Nugent/Fork in the road/CC BY-SA 2.0
After Mass one recent Sunday, a Baptist who sometimes sings with our parish choir said, “There are no denominations in Heaven.” I expect he’s correct. The Catholic friend who had invited him to sing with our choir pointed to the tabernacle and said, “Yes, but we have Jesus.”
We have Jesus—his body, blood, soul, and divinity—in the Eucharist (see CCC, 1374). Jesus all but beats us over the head with the message that he is the “bread of life” and how eating this bread and believing in him is a gateway to eternal life in his Bread of Life Discourse (John 6:22–59). We heard it the last two Sundays and we hear it again this Sunday. It’s that powerful and important a message!
I look forward to sharing eternity with people of all denominations. But I certainly appreciate—and can’t imagine living without—the grace and spiritual nourishment I receive for this life when I take our Lord Jesus Christ—his body, blood, soul, and divinity—into my body in Holy Communion.
We pray that you and the young people in your life may grow in appreciation of the great gift of the Eucharist.
Image credit: Catholic Diocese of Saginaw/CC BY-ND 2.0 via Flickr.com
The pastor of the parish where I first taught was a wise and kind man named Father Ray. In the Invitation to Communion, Father Ray would insert the words, “This is re-e-e-ally Jesus.” He did this, I’m sure, to emphasize the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist we would soon receive. And this didn’t only happen at the school Masses at which he presided. He did this at all Masses—for children and adults alike.
In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus says, “[T]he bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (John 6:51). How easy it is for us to let such words go in one ear and out the other, especially if we’ve heard and read them many times in our lives. Yet how very shocking and incredible these same words must have sounded to those who heard Jesus say them.
We pray that you—and we—may stay tuned in to the words of Jesus and the amazing gift of his Body and Blood in Holy Communion.
Photo credit: Catholic Diocese of Saginaw/CC BY-ND 2.0 via Flickr.com, cropped from larger original
This Sunday, August 5th, is my brother Mark’s birthday. I have three brothers and four sisters, so there’s often a birthday of a sibling, in-law, niece, or nephew to remember. But I remember Mark’s birthday with both celebration and sadness. You see, Mark died after a brief battle with cancer in May 2014. If he had lived, he’d be turning 48.
Losing Mark hit me hard, of course. I’m his big sister and I couldn’t protect him or take away his hurt as I did when he was small. Our family’s loss was Mark’s gain, but I also gained a better perspective on life and what really matters.
In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus says, “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life” (Mark 6:27). Sure, I work to help put food on my family’s table, but how I use my time, talents, and resources is now more often to contribute to endeavors that truly make a lasting difference and that will help get me to Heaven someday—where I’ll be united with my Lord and reunited with my brother.
We pray that you find your work of forming young people in the faith, whether in your home or classroom, a labor of love that “endures for eternal life”—your own and that of the children whose lives you touch.
Photo credit: Submitted image of Joan’s brother Mark
Five loaves and two fish. It wasn’t anywhere close to enough food to feed a crowd of thousands, yet everyone got their fill. Plus, there were 12 wicker baskets of bread fragments left over!
We may often feel that we don’t have enough—time, money, knowledge, patience, or ability. When we give thanks for the insufficient resources we do have and trust God to provide for our need, he provides abundantly. I don’t know if the key factor is gratitude or trust in God. Maybe it’s the combination since both are vital to a life of faith. We pray that you discover the abundant provisions God has in store for you this week!
Photo credit: Marcel CROZET/CIRIC
Even these “lazy days” of summer can be busy and draining. In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus acknowledges our human need for rest and models both compassion and self-sacrifice.
While on a family vacation last week, I got a glimpse of the daily life of my younger sister. As they tended to the needs of their four young sons, she and her husband were constantly vigilant of the younger two near the water as they are not yet swimmers. When other adults made plans to go out on a boat or a brewery tour, they initially held back due to the need to keep an eye on their boys.
I, on the other hand, am an empty-nester. I adore my young nephews and cherish my time with them since they live 600 miles away. Whenever I could, I gave my sister and brother-in-law a break so they could enjoy some vacation time and a few all-too-brief periods of rest from their constant vigilance. While I consider myself busy, my sister is definitely more constantly so.
In Sunday’s Gospel, the needs of the crowd were so great that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. (I’m not quite that busy either.) When they got into a boat to escape the crowds and take a rest break, the people followed them. Instead of turning the crowd away in favor of much needed rest, Jesus modeled both compassion and personal sacrifice when he taught the people who sought him out.
We pray that you are finding periods of rest and refreshment this summer. When the needs of others prevent you from resting when you’d like, think of Jesus who was in the same boat. He will help you find the compassion, sacrificial love, and, eventually, the rest you need.
Image credit: Submitted photo of Joan’s nephews Mark (age 2) and Henry (age 5)