What have you done to spread the Gospel?

05-20-2018From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. 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 recently read an excellent article on this New Evangelization. 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 the upcoming Corpus Christi procession (11:00am Mass on Sun, June 3). Participating in special events like that often makes a deep impression on them – and us.

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.

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 you done to spread the Gospel lately? Then make a new effort to do so!

I had a great visit with my mom on Mother’s Day last Sunday. Happily, both of my sisters and brothers-in-law also stopped by – and some of my nieces, too. It was great to see them all – and to enjoy my mom’s company on Mother’s Day!

Finally, I want to congratulate our new Deacons: Deacon Matthew Marinelli and Deacon Joseph Illes. Their ordination marks one of the most important steps on their respective roads to the priesthood. God willing, we will be celebrating their ordination to the priesthood this time next year! Congratulations to their families, too.

Please pray for our new deacons, and for me, today and every 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