Pope Benedict XVI declared the year 2012-2013 The Year of Faith. It begins October 11, 2012 the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th Anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It will end with Christ the King Sunday, November 24, 2014.
This Year of Faith could not have come at a better time. Without quoting a lot of statistics we know that faith in Jesus Christ and the Church has weakened in the western world of Europe and North America. Churches have less people and more gray hair. Many of those who profess faith in Christ and are somewhat connected to the Church reflect the current culture more than a fully Catholic manner of life.
Faith is a response to God and a set of beliefs. Both aspects of faith need to be renewed. We need to say “YES!” in a deeper manner to Jesus Christ. We also need to better understand the content of our faith.
The question is, “How do we do this?” What are the methods that can best wake up the Sleeping Beauty called the Catholic Church? How can the Church again be the “salt of the earth and the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-16) in our skeptical and preoccupied culture?
Perhaps one approach can be that of St. Paul to the people of Corinth. In Acts 17 St. Paul addressed the people of Athens. He did so quoting their poets and connecting with their culture. Some believed. Many scoffed. St. Paul took a different approach when he came to Corinth. He “resolved to know nothing…except Jesus Christ and him crucified…my proclamation was not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power.” (I Corinthians 2:2, 4)
I believe the charismatic renewal has important part in this “New Evangelization” (the re-evangelization of formerly Christian societies currently under the spell of secularism) of our culture. Like St. Paul most Catholic charismatics have a great love of both the kerygma (the basic message of faith-Jesus is Lord) and the charisms of the Holy Spirit which demonstrate the power of the gospel.
On March 31st Jim Murphy spent the better part of a day in our diocese of Cleveland. He specifically taught about and prayed for the charisms of the Spirit to be stirred up in our midst. It was a wonderful day! This theme will be extended into this summer’s charismatic conference in Cleveland, Let the Fire Fall on July 20-21, 2012 at Magnificat High School. Mark your calendars today! We need to the purifying and energizing power of the Holy Spirit to propel us into the Year of Faith. We want to be prepared to do our part in the work of the New Evangelization!
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Bob Franco