Particularly concerning were parishioners who were leaving not only our parish, but were leaving the Catholic faith. On the occasion that I had the opportunity to speak with people who were making this transition, I heard things like: “I’m not being fed here.” or “I’m not getting anything out of the Mass.” Such comments tend to betray a skewed perspective on why we are members of the church and why we attend Mass in the first place.
Over the years, I have noticed that the crowds that attend Mass on Ash Wednesday rival any other day of the year, including Easter and Christmas. This tells us there is something attractive about being called to renew our relationship with God, about the penitential nature of the day and season that is fundamentally about conversion.
In recent months, I’ve been prayerfully asking: “What kind of church is God calling us to be today?” I believe that much of the answer lies in the papacy of Pope Francis. As Saint Francis himself was called to “renew my church,” I believe we are being called to a renewal in our time by this pope. I’m all in!
During November our liturgical celebrations draw attention to the culmination of our earthly pilgrimage to the kingdom of heaven. We do well to ponder regularly the source of our life in God, the reason for our being expressed in God’s will, and our destination as eternity with God.
Many of our cultural challenges today will be solved only with a proper understanding of the human person. Christian anthropology is an appreciation of the truth that God creates every human person.
In the homily today, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, spoke of the importance of ‘confessing faith in Christ’, of persecution and prayer. I have prayed during this week’s pilgrimage that we will all better witness to Christ – confessing him to the world around us by the lives we lead, our values, priorities, virtue and charity.
My dear family, as I write this month’s column, I am in Indianapolis for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ June assembly. Much will have transpired between now and the publication of the July Catholic Anchor. This “in between time” is the topic of my reflection, because it very much involves all of you.
During the month of June, we will conclude another Easter Season with the celebration of Pentecost, followed by some major solemnities (feast days). These are Holy Trinity, Corpus Christi (the Body & Blood of the Lord), the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, and Saints Peter and Paul. That is quite a line-up for any month of the year!