What Have You Done to Spread the Gospel Lately?

05-23-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

What have you done to spread the Gospel lately? That’s a good question to ask yourself on this Pentecost Sunday.

On Pentecost, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help the disciples spread the Gospel to many peoples and places. In Baptism, and especially Confirmation, Jesus sent that same Holy Spirit to help us spread the Gospel in the world today. Many of you did this by teaching your children about the Faith and sending them to Catholic School or CCD classes. Many also do it by supporting the missions. Still others do it on a personal, one to one basis, sharing their faith with others in conversations and other ways.

St. John Paul II, and his successors Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, said that our world has need of a ‘New Evangelization.’ By ‘new’ they do not mean that we are to preach a ‘new’ message about Jesus, for “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Rather, the popes mean that, as Catholics, we need to make a new effort at spreading the Gospel in the world.

I read an excellent article on the New Evangelization in Columbia magazine (a publication of the Knight of Columbus). Written by Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, it made me think about the question I posed at the beginning of this article: what have you done to spread the Gospel lately? It also made me think about ways that each and every one of us can make a new effort to spread the Gospel today. Here are some simple suggestions:

If you meet someone whose children are not baptized, offer to help them set it up. Call me if you’re not sure what to do. A number of good people in our parish have brought families with several unbaptized children to me, and it was my pleasure to help them celebrate their children’s Baptism.

Gently reach out to people who have stopped coming to Church. Be aware that they may have been hurt in some way and may be resistant at first. Don’t get discouraged, but stay gentle and see what you can do to affect a healing.

Bring your children/grandchildren to things like Adoration. Seeing people quietly praying before the Blessed Sacrament bears witness to our belief in the Real Presence, and in the power of prayer. We will have a brief Corpus Christi procession with Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament following the 11 AM Mass on June 6th – the Feast of Corpus Christi. This would be another good opportunity to share our faith in the Real Presence with your family.

Gently see that all the children you know (your own, your grandchildren, etc.) are enrolled for CCD Classes, or Catholic School. Be especially on the lookout for children in 1st or 2nd grade (who should be preparing for First Holy Communion) or 7th and 8th grade (who should be preparing for Confirmation). We don’t want any of our children to miss these wonderful moments in their relationship with Jesus.

There is an insert in this week’s bulletin about CCD registration. You can use the registration form on it (return it to the parish office as soon as possible) – or you can go on the parish website (spsj.org) and register there.

These are just a few suggestions. I’m sure you can think of others. Whatever you do, spend some time thinking about my original question: What have done to spread the Gospel lately? Then make a new effort to do so!

Finally, pray for missionaries and all those who work to spread the Gospel around the world. Please also pray that Hail Mary for me each day. Let’s also pray for peace, and that each of us will find new and effective ways to spread the Gospel in the world today.

Have a great week!
Fr. John

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