We are standing on two legs! In 2012, our diocese set out on a journey to deepen our discipleship and then transform that discipleship into outreach to those neighbors and friends of ours who are “former” Catholics, that is, to help make us missionary disciples. In fact, one might say that we are never really disciples of Jesus unless we are sharing him and inviting others to know him, and then walking with them along his way.
From the Bishop
In October, we in the Diocese of Lansing were blessed to be part of an assembly for the New Evangelization. We were energized by our speakers, and filled with the Holy Spirit in our prayer. If you were unable to attend this wonderful event, I encourage you to visit the website (dioceseoflansing.org/2016-assembly-highlights) and participate in it digitally with your brothers and sisters in Christ. I hope you will find the content there inspiring as you undertake the joyful task of evangelization — this is our call, and was given to us at the moment of our baptism.
By the time you read this letter, we will have held our second Diocesan Assembly, “Called by Name.” We had some big names leading us – Deacon Ralph Poyo, Sherry Weddell and Curtis Martin. But the stars of the two days, Oct. 21 and 22, were a couple of thousand dedicated followers of the Lord. They came to be challenged to reach out to all those out there who have some connection to the Catholic Church but still find themselves outside her doors.
How to be a faith-filled citizen in this or any election can be difficult. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a document called Faithful Citizenship two years ago to help us. This complements the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
Jesus’ story about the lost sheep has always amazed me. Why wouldn’t the shepherd simply cut his losses and not worry about one sheep, which probably was already eaten by the wolves anyway? And besides, that shepherd could have been putting the other 99 in jeopardy. It is most likely those who heard Jesus tell that story had a reaction similar to mine.
“Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” These words of Jesus have been guiding our diocese in a particular way these past four years. These words are also the charge given us for the years ahead. The Holy Spirit is clearly telling us what we are to do. Now it is up to each of us to become disciples of Jesus and then go out there and disciple others!