If you walk into Sacred Heart, or any Catholic church next Sunday, and look around, you will discover that many people are highly engaged, others are bored and very distracted, but the majority are somewhere in between. Why is that? While I may not have the answer to that question, I do know that here at Sacred Heart our goal is to invite more parishioners to join that first group (engaged!).
I recently read a book by Matthew Kelly that we are giving to all families in our church parish this year for a Lent Retreat project: The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. These are four things make the difference between highly engaged Catholics and those who never get involved.
The four signs are: PRAYER, STUDY, GENEROSITY and EVANGELIZATION.
- Active and engaged parishioners have a daily commitment to prayer. Our goal here at Sacred Heart is to invite and encourage people to take time out every day for some quiet, some personal time in prayer and reflection.
- Active and engaged parishioners are continuous learners. They have a hunger for scripture and greater knowledge of Jesus’ life. They also are willing to read a book on spirituality and perhaps make a retreat or join a small faith community.
- Active and engaged parishioners are generous, not just with money and time, but also with their love and their encouragement to others. While it starts with financial stewardship and generosity, it obviously spills over into their whole outlook on life: gratitude.
- Active and engaged parishioners evangelize others. I mean that they readily invite others to grow spiritually by sharing the love of God with them. Matthew Kelly says that of all the four signs, this is always the most underdeveloped in people. Maybe it’s the hardest to achieve. As Catholics we are not usually good at sharing our faith with others.
Are you ready to let God take your spiritual life to the next level so you can help reinvigorate our parish? I encourage you to resolve today in this new year of 2013 to work on becoming a more dynamic and active Catholic. The Church needs you!
I commend you to the loving Sacred Heart of Jesus. May God bless each of you.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. Louis J. Richard, Pastor