Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Come Home for Easter

I opened the local St. Pete Times today and was surprised to find the following nearly full page Document:

Come Home for Easter
Who are we?

We are your neighbors...We live throughout this area. Across the Country, over 25% of Americans are Catholic, and our international family numbers over 1 billion.

We are Christians...We believe that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God born of the Virgin Mary. We believe that He died to save us from sin and rose so that He might give us eternal life.

We are people of God...who trace our spiritual blood lines through the saints of all centuries back to Jesus, the promised Son of David and the Sacrificial Lamb prophesied by Abraham. Our membership includes Mother Teresa and Al Capone, smart, dull, rich, poor and people of all races and nationalities. One wit defined Catholicism as: "Here comes everybody."

We are the Body of Christ...We believe that the risen Jesus lives in us spiritually through his Holy Spirit and that united with Him in the waters of baptism we form one "mystical body" with Christ as our head.

We are an earthly people...We believe that, since God came to earth, then earth itself is "Christ-alized." The world is good, life is good. people are good. Of course, we know that people sin; but we believe that sin can be forgiven - entirely wiped out, not just overlooked.

We are a sacramental people...Sacraments are signs of God's grace and special presence. Jesus Himself is the most fundamental sign of God's presence for Jesus is God in the Flesh. As Catholics, we believe that through the seven sacraments or sacred signs instituted by Christ, the Lord Jesus still speaks and reveals to us the infinite mystery and presence of God. Through our celebration of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmations, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Marriage, Holy Orders and Healing, we believe that God is as uniquely present to all whom He met.

We are heavenly people...Along with other Christians, we believe in everlasting life after death. We view heaven as a joyous place, a banquet at which God is our host, Jesus our waiter and a crowd of angels as entertainers. Our celebration includes friends and former enemies. We believe that all creation and all people are called to glory.

We are a people of Tradition...We trace our lineage back to Adam and Eve. We do not start each day as if it were not based on yesterday. We do not face each question as if we had learned nothing from experience. We combine the wisdom of scripture and the experience of our life with God through the centuries. This gives us respect for the past, openness to the future and hope for the present.

We are a people of values...With Paul the Apostle we hold on to all that is true and good. We believe that some values never go out of style, that marriage and family are holy and inviolable than that the ten commandments were not given to us as mere suggestions.

We are a people of life...We are convinced that Jesus came to give us life the the full and that God alone is in charge of life. We believe that human life is sacred from the first moment of conception through natural death. We are absolutely opposed to the destruction of life at either end of its spectrum, and we insist on the right to a certain quality of life in between. We pledge ourselves to fight the life-denying forces in our "culture of death."

We are a patriotic people...We are in love with America - even of America has not always loved us. Catholic immigrants were once excluded by law; the Catholic Church was not allowed to own property; Catholics were not even allowed to vote. Organized gangs, called "know nothings" and "Nativists" burned our Churches and persecuted our people. Nevertheless, while Catholics were only 16% of the population during WWI, we made up 35% of the Armed Forces that fought for America. And we have maintained our commitment to America ever since.

We are a church of the people...Catholicism was started by a poor carpenter and a dozen poor fisherman. We have never lost our bind with working people. We formed the craft guilds in the Middle Ages and helped found labor unions in America. We have a grand tradition of the Catholic social gospel. Eleven of the 12 proposals in our "Social Reconstruction" document became a part of the New Deal over 60 years ago. And we continue to help the poor in hospitals, schools, shelters, food banks, etc.

So - whats wrong with us?...Nothing...God isn't finished working on us yet. If you feel perhaps God isn't finished working on you either, we would like to invite you and your family and friends to join us for our celebration of Christ's Resurrection.

All of our Parishes would love to welcome you home this Easter.

Come to me says the Lord

On the left side of the document are the Church names, addresses, phone numbers and websites for 14 north county Parishes in our Diocese.

The first impression this made on me was the immaculate language approach. It conveys a gentle conversation and yet, does not withold our firm convictions. Second, it is also a sampling but clear outline of USCCB Catechetics for RCIA, which we have followed this year in our Parish teaching.

There are many striking points and the one that has timing for this week is the access we have Liturgically to the Divine Mercy Reconciliation.

"Of course, we know that people sin; but we believe that sin can be forgiven - entirely wiped out, not just overlooked."

Only once a year, for 15 days this particular year, are we granted such complete absolution in the Rite of Penance. While the document didnt spell this point out, I see the alignment.

Exquisite work of writing...whoever put this down...for secular outreach. I dont disagree with any facet of its content, even without a published imprimatur. I pray it will catch the eyes of those who need it.


~Joseph the Worker said...

That's great! I wish I saw that in our local paper.