This past year has been the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy for the Catholic Church. Our world has certainly needed all the mercy we can get. We show how our faith enables our joy and mercy every single day, from helping a neighbor with their groceries, to tutoring and serving in the soup kitchen in Immokalee, to packing 20,000 meals for starving refugees in Africa. Many of these activities and events could be done as simple volunteer activities. Pope Francis, however, states eloquently how our Catholic Faith transforms mercy into these actions:
Jesus’ admonition is always pertinent: today too, man forms an idea of God that prevents him from enjoying His real presence. Some people carve out a “do-it-yourself” faith that reduces God to the limited space of one’s own desires and convictions. This faith is not a conversion to the Lord who reveals himself, but rather, it prevents him from enlivening our life and consciousness. Others reduce God to a false idol; they use his holy name to justify their own interests, or actual hatred and violence. For others still God is only a psychological refuge in which to be reassured in difficult moments: it is a faith turned in on itself, impervious to the power of the merciful love of Jesus which reaches out to others. Others still consider Christ only as a good instructor of ethical teachings, one among the many of history. Finally, there are those who stifle the faith in a purely intimate relationship with Jesus, nullifying his missionary thrust that is capable of transforming the world and history. We Christians believe in the God of Jesus Christ, and our desire is that of growing in the living experience of his mystery of love.
Let us therefore commit ourselves not to allow any obstacle to hinder the Father’s merciful action, and let us ask for the gift of a great faith so that we too may become signs and instruments of mercy.
It is inherently Catholic to serve without need for praise or recognition. It is Catholic to truly give everything for those in need and for the larger community. It is Catholic to go out into the world and proclaim the joy of our relationship with Jesus through our actions. It is our mission. We are so very excited to be taking the next step in our journey to be Intentional Disciples of Jesus as Catholics in two concrete ways:
- NET Missionaries – By the time you read this, we will have 8 missionaries integrated into our Parish Family, from all over the country (and one even from Ireland, and you can guess he will get along well with Father John). They are alive with the missionary spirit and will take our joyous message to all the youth, young adults, and experienced members of the Naples community. We will need all the help we can get to support them, so please contact Kyle VanDuser, our CYO Social and Spiritual Coordinator, if you have the ability to house a few of these missionaries for a few weeks. All they need is a floor to lay their sleeping bags on.
- New Adult Faith Formation Seminar: Forming Intentional Disciples – This book points to the core of both the current issues facing the Catholic Church, as well as some of the solutions we are implementing here at St. John. This is a “must-read” for the leadership of our Parish Family, and that means each and every one of us. Please check with Jack Kindsvater for his schedule for the seminar series.
I want to thank you all for the support and commitment you have shown to being part of this active Catholic community of Saint John the Evangelist. We have a wonderful past, a beautiful now, and an exciting future together as our Parish Family.