FROM FATHER NICO’S DESK
Last week, I shared with you my visit to Montréal, a beautiful city once a center of Catholicism in North America. However, the tides of secularization have washed over Montréal, leaving the city’s massive, intricately decorated, and once-vibrant places of worship nearly deserted.
The emptiness of our sacred spaces reminds us of the challenges we face in passing on the faith to future generations.
Below I offer some suggestions on how we can reach out and share the joy of the Catholic faith, inviting everyone to know, love, and serve Jesus.
Foster a Culture of Prayer: Prayer is the foundation of spiritual life. Prayer can bring transformation and a deeper relationship with Jesus.
Embrace the Joy of the Faith: The first step is to embrace and live out the joy of the Catholic faith ourselves. People are drawn to joy and genuine happiness; when they see it in us, they may become curious about its source. Embodying the teachings of Christ in our daily lives can have a powerful impact on those around us.
Cultivate Authentic Relationships: Building authentic relationships with others is essential for effective evangelization. Take the time to listen to people’s stories, concerns, and struggles, showing empathy and understanding. By creating a space for dialogue, we can open doors for discussions about faith and spirituality.
Engage with the Community: Be active in the local community within and outside the church. Participate in community events, volunteer activities, and outreach programs. This involvement can help break down barriers and demonstrate the relevance of faith in contemporary life.
Offer Welcoming Spaces: Make sure everyone feels welcome regardless of their background or struggles. By fostering a sense of belonging, we can encourage people to explore their faith journey more deeply and get to know Jesus.
Evangelize through Service: Show the love of Christ through acts of service and charity. Engage in outreach to the marginalized, the poor, and those in need. These actions exemplify the Gospel message in a tangible way and can inspire others to seek the source of our compassion.
Be Open to Questions and Doubts: Recognize that people may have questions and doubts about faith. Be open to engaging in honest and respectful discussions about these matters. Addressing doubts with empathy and understanding can help individuals on their faith journey.
Trust in the Holy Spirit: Finally, remember that the work of evangelization ultimately relies on the Holy Spirit. Trust in God’s guidance and pray for the Spirit’s presence to touch the hearts of those we encounter. We are not the ones who can transform people’s hearts. Only God can do that.
In this challenging context, I proposed that we, the church, must first renew our commitment to God and respond to our neighbor with compassion, understanding, and renewed evangelization efforts. Rather than lamenting the decline, there is an opportunity to reach out to those who have drifted away and offer them the love and hope found in the teachings of Christ. Remaining steadfast in the Gospel values, we are called to provide relevant guidance and support for the spiritual journey of all.
On a different note, I know many of our parishioners are struggling with losing a loved one, and the grieving process has not been easy. You are not alone, and you are in my prayers. In the fall, we will begin a grief group in the parish. Through a parishioner, I found this excellent program that I believe would be helpful for us. Stay tuned for more announcements.
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