Twenty-Fourth Sunday of the Year
16 September 2012
Dear Friends in Christ,
The Second Vatican Council changed the texture of life in the Catholic Church in our time and for decades or even centuries to come, and we cannot understand the contemporary shape of Catholicism without seeing ourselves as the children of that Council. Vatican II officially opened on 11 October 1962, which means that next month is the 50th anniversary of the Council’s beginning. That is among the many reasons why Pope Benedict XVI has called the universal Church to observe a Year of Faith beginning on 11 October 2012 and ending on the Solemnity of Christ the King 2013.
During the coming Year of Faith, our mission is to understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ with ever greater clarity and depth and strive to surrender our lives ever more completely to Christ and his Gospel with the obedience of faith. In the service of this mission, during most of October the worldwide Synod of Bishops will be meeting in Rome with Pope Benedict to discuss “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.” The concept of the “New Evangelization” was central to the teaching of Blessed Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict has also placed this work at the heart of the Church: announcing to a world increasing estranged from the Lord of history that Jesus Christ is the answer to which every human life is the question and that without a personal friendship with the Lord Jesus which comes from accepting the truth of the Gospel, no human life can be complete.
Throughout the coming Year of Faith, here at St. Mary’s we will have several means for sharing in the work of the New Evangelization, but I am delighted to say that this is nothing new here. For more than a decade, the Principles of Evangelical Catholicism have formed the basis for pastoral care in this parish, and those principles are the distillation of much of what will be discussed in Rome during October. For now, I want to draw your attention to one special event that will mark the Year of Faith.
On Saturday 9 February 2013, George Weigel will speak here at St. Mary’s to introduce a new book that will be published just the week before his visit. Weigel’s new book is entitled “Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st Century Church”, and it will explore the practical consequences of the reforms launched by the Second Vatican Council and how the life of the Church in the near future can best be adapted to the work of the New Evangelization — the making of Evangelical Catholics. Please mark that date in your calendar now, and plan on joining us here on 9 February 2013 to listen to George Weigel talk about the many dimensions of Evangelical Catholicism.