Unleash the Gospel
A Pastoral Letter from Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron
At the Celebration of the Vigil of Pentecost
As the community gathered at the Cathedral on June 3 for the celebration of the Vigil of Pentecost I could feel expectancy in the air. For months since the gathering for Synod 16 I had received many calls from people all over the archdiocese wondering: Would we ever know how what we shared at Synod 16 was going to make a difference? My answer always was we will know when Archbishop Vigneron shares his Pastoral letter. So here we are, ready to hear.
In the homily, Archbishop Vigneron shared what he heard at the Synod and what the team who read and re-read each of the group reports from the Synod gathering discerned to be issues important to the people of the Archdiocese.
"The Church in the Archdiocese of Detroit is resolved to obey the Holy Spirit and to be made by him a band of joyful missionary disciples.
The Pastoral Letter was released online even as Archbishop Vigneron was speaking. It is 43 pages long ... we certainly did a lot of talking at Synod 16! Here are some highlights from the Introduction.
This means that the archdiocese, following the call of Pope Francis, is resolved to undergo a missionary conversion. A change in our culture, such that every person at every level of the church, through personal encounters with Jesus Christ, embraces his or her identity as a son or daughter of God and in the power of the Holy Spirit is formed and sent forth as a joyful missionary disciple.
An encounter is a kind of person-centered form of contemplation and joining of one's presence. It is two persons being present with each other, with no other purpose than being present and sharing love.
Christ calls every priest, deacon, religious and lay person in the archdiocese to embark upon the New Evangelization. We have to get out of our comfort zone. We have to let ourselves be evangelized and changed. We have to pray for the fulfillment of what we heard prophesied by Joel: That the Lord will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh, and that everyone will prophesy, the old, and the young.
And so, when we hear the prophesy of Ezekiel about the dry
bones, and about how God can restore and wants to restore life to dry bones, we should think of ourselves, are there not many dry bones here in the archdiocese? Some of us are those dry bones, some parts of our lives, some aspirations and ideas and expectations that were once vivid, lively ... They seem to have died; perhaps, they may even look like they're embalmed. But these dry bones can live. We know this by faith. God can take what's dead and make it alive. He did it before the sun rose on the first day of the week after Good Friday and he can do it here."
The goal of the Synod was nothing less than a radical overhaul of the Church in Detroit, a complete reversal of our focus from an inward, maintenance-focused church, to an outward, mission-focused church.
We are being called to a radical change. As I read the letter I reflected on how the Chancery has changed in the short period of 3 years. In 2014 the move was made from the Gabriel Richard Building to the building at 12 State Street. I must confess it was a difficult move for me. I was used to an office with walls, resources within hand's reach and quiet space for thinking and responding to the liturgical needs of parishes. Instead, I found myself in an open space with 55 other workers, all intent on responding to the needs of pastors, parish staffs and the laity at the same time. The noise level took a lot of getting used to. But, upon reflection, what I see has happened is that hte anonymity of those working in the chancery gradually disappeared. We were no longer only aware of those in our own departments. For the first few months we engaged in a process of getting to know each other as we ate lunch together and met each other at the copy machine, in the elevator, et cetera. A few weeks ago we gathered to say goodbye to some of the staff and celebrate the accomplishments of others and it struck me ... we really know each other, care for each other and are united in our effort to become missionary disciples.
This means that the Archdiocese, following the call of Pope Francis, is resolved to undergo a"'missionary conversion", a change in our culture ...
For everyone in the Archdiocese, it entails making one's relationship with Jesus and alignment with his will the central guiding principle of every aspect of life. This missionary conversion entails a strikingly countercultural way of living grounded in prayer, Scripture and the sacraments; unusually gracious hospitality; a capacity to include those on the margins of society, and joyful confidence in the providence of God even in difficult and stressful times.
The missionary conversion to which the Lord calls us is ... a return to the roots of our identity as the Church of Jesus Christ ...
The very last words Christ spoke to his disciples were: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16: 15) ... (The Church) exists in order to evangelize.
Evangelization is ... proclaiming the good news of Jesus to those around us ... in word and in deed ... If we share the good news of Christ's love in words only, not demonstrably living what we preach, people will rightly suspect us of hypocrisy, and we may even give Christianity a bad name. On the other hand, if we share the good news in deeds only, people will not learn of the One who is the source of the joy and divine love we carry within us.
News from the Vatican
Pope Francis' 25th Anniversary
In his remarks to the cardinals who concelebrated Mass with him on his 25th anniversary as a bishop, Pope Francis said: "... we are not old men, we are grandfathers ... We are grandfathers called to dream and to give our dreams to the young people of today. They need it so that from our dreams, they can draw the strength to prophesy and carry out their task ..."
Commenting on the scripture of the day, June 27, he continued: "... the Bible says Abraham was 75 years old when he got the call ... at 75," with the weight of old age, Abraham heard God call him and tell him to Go. Look. And Hope ... God tells us the same thing ... He tells us that now is not the time to shut down our lives or to end our stories ... our grandchildren are watching us ... we must help young people find meaning in their lives by sharing our experiences."
Certainly, this message is one for all of us. We have the mission also ... to share our stories, our dreams with the young people in our lives. Go! Look! Hope!
Vatican Releases Online Questionnaire for Youth
In order to involve young people in the preparation for the Bishops Syno
d on Youth in 2018, the Vatican has released a questionnaire available in English, Spanish, French and Italian on the synod's official website or at the USCCB's website.
The survey is open to any young person, regardless of faith or religious belief. It seeks to better understand the lives, attitudes and concerns of 16-29 year olds around the world. The survey is anonymous and will provide the basis for drafting the working documents for the Synod bishops.
News from the USCCB
Bishop's Spring Meeting
At their Spring 2017 meeting, the Bishops voted to approve two new liturgical documents:
- The revised Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities
- This document takes into account modern medical and technological innovations. It stresses that it is important to include all parishioners in the liturgical life of the parish.
- The Order of Blessing the Oil of Catechumens and of the Sick and of Consecrating the Chrism
- This ritual is used each year at the Chrism Mass.
National Catholic Pledge to End the Death Penalty
"All Christians and people of good will are called today to fight not only for the abolition of the death penalty, whether legal or illegal, and in all its forms, but also in order to improve prison conditions, with respect for the human dignity of the people deprived of their freedom." — Pope Francis
The Catholic Mobilizing Network has organized a pledge drive and the Bishops of the USCCB were among the first to sign the pledge. Since 1973, 159 people and counting have been exonerated because of innocnece. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "The death penalty is not needed to maintain public safety ... punishment must 'correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and be in conformity to the dignity of the human person.' " (CCC 2266 - 2267). To take the pledge to educate, advocate and pray for the end of the death penalty, click here.
Bishop's Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage and Religious Liberty
The U.S. bishops invite the faithful to join a movement of prayer and sacrifice for the protection of life, marriage and religious liberty in our country. Follow the links on the attached to learn more about how you can answer the call.
For Pastors and Worship Commissions
Planning Sheet for Confirmation
The planning sheet for Confirmation has been revised. Please make a copy of this sheet and place it in the Guide for Preparation of the Confirmation Liturgy.
Date Set for the Beatification of Father Solanus Casey
The date for the beatification of Father Solanus Casey is set for November 18, 2017 at Ford Field. Even as the committee continues to work at all the arrangements for the beatification, we are encouraged to continue praying for his canonization. His canonization would require a second miracle attributed to his intercession after he is made blessed. Attached is the prayer for his canonization. There will be many Capuchins from around the country in attendance for this historic event. The call has gone out that housing is needed for them from approximately November 16 - 20. If you can provide a room for even one or two nights, please contact Debbie Piontkowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (313) 579-2100 ext. 222.
The praenotanda for each of the liturgical books clearly reveals the theology inherent in the celebration of that sacrament. It builds upon the ancient axiom that there is a reciprocal relationship between prayer and belief ... "lex orandi, lex credendi". A recent edition of the Newsletter from the Committee on Divine Worship addressed the theology in the Praenotanda of the Rtie of Christian Initiation of Adults. Attached is a copy of this short analysis. If we would learn and practice this theology and incorporate it into our RCIA process at the parish level it would certainly result in a markedly different kind of process. Are you up to the challenge?
According to Canon Law, "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass. This year the Fourth Sunday of Advent falls on December 24, Christmas falls on Monday, December 25. Some people are beginning to ask: Can I satisfy both obligations by attending Mass on the evening of December 23?
||Anniversary of Episcopal Ordination of Archbishop Vigneron
||St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the Lily of the Mohakws
||She was the first Native American declared Blessed in 1980 and Canonized in 2012.
||St. Mary Magdalene, Apostle of the Apostles
||She was the first witness of the Lord's resurrection and the first evangelist and now can rightly be taken by the faithful as a model of women's role in the Church. Pope Francis has raised this celebration to the rank of Feast. The decree included a proper Preface. A copy of the decree and Preface are attached.
||St. Sharbel, the Hermit of Lebanon
||St. Sharbel was devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary and spent 23 years as a hermit. He taught the value of poverty, self-sacrifice and prayer by the life he lived. He is an exemplar of the Maronite expression of Catholic holiness and values.
||St. James, Apostle, Patron of Pilgrims
||He was the first apostle to be martyred. He is venerated at Compostella
||SS. Joachim and Anne, Parents of Blessed Virgin Mary
||St. Anne is the patroness of the Archdiocese of Detroit.
||St. Martha, Patroness of housewives, waiters and waitresses
||She was the sister of Mary and Lazarus and noted as a model of hospitality and a faithful disciple.
||St. Ignatius of Loyola, Patron saint of retreatants and soldiers
||He founded the Jesuits
||St. Alphonsus, Patron of confessors and moral theologians.
||He founded the Redemptorists
||St. John Vianney, Patron of priests and parish clergy
||He is known as the Curé of Ars and spent no less than 11 hours each day in the confessional
||Transfiguration of the Lord
||Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
||This is a Holy Day of Obligation
The prevailing view of canon lawyers is that each obligation must be fulfilled by attending a separate Mass: "A person who assists at a Mass celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the feast itself or in the evening of the preceding day satisfies the obligation of participating in the Mass" (#1248 no. 1)
Parishes will need to be creative in scheduling Masses over this weekend ... perhaps cutting one of the Sunday morning Masses. Those Masses scheduled for the Fourth Sunday of Advent will need to honor the focus of this celebration ... it is not Christmas. The Worship Commission suggests that the lights not be lit on the trees for this Mass, that the flowers not be placed yet, in order to preserve the anxious waiting for the Christmas celebration.
1. Is it possible to be registered in more than one parish?
NO. You may participate in the celebration of the Eucharist at any church but only register as a parishioner in one parish.
2. May a faithful Eastern Orthodox person be a sponsor at a Catholic baptism and confirmation?
YES. "It is permissible, for a just cause, for an Eastern faithful to act as a godparent, together with a Catholic godparent, at the baptism of a Catholic infant or adult, so long as there is provision for the Catholic education of the person being baptized, and it is clear the godparent is a suitable one." (Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, #98b)
3. May a priest be a godfather?
YES. When Canon Law was revised in 2000 it did not repeat the restriction that religious, priests and deacons and spouses of adult candidates could not be godparents/sponsors at the baptism of an adult. (Canon 874)
4. What should be done when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for adoration and there is no one present in the Church for adoration?
If there are too few (or no) worshipers, the Blessed Sacrament must be replaced in the tabernacle. At no time may the Blessed Sacrament be exposed when there are no worshipers. However, this reposition of the Blessed Sacrament into the tabernacle may not take place more than twice during the day. The parish may need to schedule and announce beforehand the specific times when adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will take place or have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle.
5. Are there any guidelines for parishes that have perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament?
YES. See the attached document: Guidelines for Perpetual Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
Here are some interesting books and programs for your summer reading/viewing. Hope they help you pass the time.
Belonging: Baptism in the Family of God by Fr. Mike Schmitz
The baptism of a child is one of the most grace-filled moments in the life of a family. There is a natural openness and receptivity during this time that is ideal for evangelization. Belonging: Baptism in the Family of God prepares families for the beautiful sacrament of baptism, while reminding them of who they are as God's children and the significance of their vocation. Visit this site for more information. Also, you can view some of the videos at this site.
A Pastor's Toolbox 2: More Management Skills for Parish Leadership, edited by Paul Holmes with a Foreword by Archbishop Bernard Hebda
This is a follow-up to A Pastor's Toolbox, Management Skills for Parish Leadership that provides all new information, insights and practical tools that pastors need to handle the complexities of parish management in the twenty-first century.
Liturgical Press is introducing a new team of authors including Jay Cormier, Diana Macalintal and Brian Schmisek for their series Living Liturgy: Spirituality, Celebration and Catechesis for Sundays and Solemnities. The series provides liturgical and spiritual formation for the whole parish. The series also includes resources for Music Ministers and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.
Seek the Living God: Five RCIA Inquiry Questions for Making Disciples by Nick Wagner
We all know that a one-size fits all approach to RCIA catechumenate formation doesn't work. But until now, many of us were stumped trying to find a viable alternative. Seek the Living God: Five RCIA Inquiry Questions for Making Disciples is the answer to your prayers.
Field Hospital Catechesis: The Core Content for RCIA Formation
If, as Pope Francis says, the church is a field hospital, then what does it mean to care for the wounded and heal the wounds? What would we do first? Indeed, God sends all of us — especially catechists and teachers — to heal the world. And the first thing we have to do is this: proclaim that Jesus Christ saves us. This first proclamation heals the wounds of unbelievers, seekers and believers alike.
Parishes around the Archdiocese are offering workshops and other experiences for adults who are interested in growing their faith. These are advertised in Parish Mail. You may request to be placed on the list of those receiving the news at aod.org/parishmail.