Whole countries and nations where religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and capable of fostering a viable and working community of faith, are now put to a hard test, and in some cases, are even undergoing a radical transformation, as a result of a constant spreading of an indifference to religion, of secularism and atheism. This particularly concerns countries and nations of the so-called First World, in which economic well-being and consumerism, even if coexistent with a tragic situation of poverty and misery, inspires and sustains a life lived “as if God did not exist”. This indifference to religion and the practice of religion devoid of true meaning in the face of life’s very serious problems, are not less worrying and upsetting when compared with declared atheism.[Christifideles Laici, no.34)]
Today in particular, the pressing pastoral task of the new evangelization calls for the involvement of the entire People of God, and requires a new fervor, new methods and a new expression for the announcing and witnessing of the Gospel. This task demands priests who are deeply and fully immersed in the mystery of Christ and capable of embodying a new style of pastoral life, marked by a profound communion with the Pope, the Bishops and other priests, and a fruitful cooperation with the lay faithful, always respecting and fostering the different roles, charisms and ministries present within the ecclesial community.[Pastores Dabo Vobis, no 18)]
Parish organizations involved in Catholic Action are taking the initiative to engage the desire of all Christians to spread the Good News that is Jesus Christ within the community of believers and, in cooperation with their pastor; they seek to build up the Body of Christ, the Church. They do this as a self-giving response to an encounter with Christ that is profound and compelling.
Action is not an end unto itself; it is a manifestation of our desire to encounter Christ Who is found among the poor, the alienated, the ignorant, the sick and the wanting. We do not ‘act’ for the poor, “for the poor we will have with us always.” We ‘act’ for the Church Who is Christ and is the fulfillment of all holiness and the revelation of the God Who abides among His People.
One cannot discover the virtues alone, we need others to teach us, to support us and hold us up. Human Beings are not islands unto themselves. We are communal by nature and so are bound to each as we are bound to Christ in the Sacramental Church He gives us to encounter Him in Love.
I welcome all our parishioners to become involved in any of our organizations as a specific means to encounter Christ Who is the center of our lives in the Eucharist. “Do not be afraid!!”