What is your parishioners' greatest concern in their faith?
One of our congregation's important concerns is the challenge which was placed before us by the Second Vatican Council for a new evangelization. This was so often reiterated by Pope John Paul II and most recently in Washington last month by Pope Benedict. Our people want to find effective means to respond to an increasingly secular and materialistic culture by their own fidelity to the faith and a desire to share its treasures. To make this happen, people recognize their need to be helped to discern the path that leads to true freedom: the path of a sincere and generous imitation of Christ and subsequently, the path of commitment to justice and peace.
To accomplish this, they know we need to develop more programmes of solid catechesis. So much more remains to be done to form the hearts and minds of people in knowledge and love of the Lord. There is a thirst for a comprehensive and sound instruction in the truths of the faith and for cultivating a mindset, an intellectual "culture", which is genuinely rooted in faith and reason, and prepared to bring the richness of faith's vision to bear on the urgent issues which affect the future of our society.
Yet, all these concerns and desires are lived on the foundation of Christ, our Hope. This hope which is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, the hope which supernaturally purifies and refines our aspirations by focusing them on the Lord. In his Encyclical, Spe Salvi (2), Pope Benedict wrote that "Those who have hope must live different lives". Allowing the Spirit to transform our lives will lead us to bring the Lords transforming message to the world - mindful of that which St. Francis was so fond of saying: "Preach at all times, use words if necessary!"