In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2014/08/29 at 12:00 AM

During his reign as our Holy Father, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI called upon all Catholics to “re-propose” the Gospel to those who have experienced a crisis of faith.

Recognizing the incredible inroads secularism has made throughout the world in the past few decades, Pope Benedict called upon Catholics to be evangelized themselves, and then to go forth and re-evangelize our world that seems to have forgotten the Good News of Jesus.
This “New Evangelization,” as it is being called, is ultimately a call for all Catholics to renew their relationship with Jesus and His Church. By doing so, we become better able to “go out to all the world and tell the Good News.”
This is so important, for God desires that all men be saved. He desires to gather nations of every language, to draw unto Himself people from east and west, north and south.
But this requires that those of us who are blessed to live in the fullness of truth through our Catholic faith be willing to step out in faith, hope, and love with the Gospel message.
As our Gospel indicates today, it is not easy to get into Heaven. Following up on lastSunday’s Gospel, we are reminded today never to take our salvation for granted. Once again
the Gospel message today is a difficult one, but ultimately it is a very hopeful Gospel.

While we are reminded again today that we have to cooperate in the process of our ownredemption, which means dying to self, it also reminds us that all of us can be saved! Even
those of low-standing here on earth can have a high place in Heaven!

Indeed, we are told today that it is often those who are considered to be of little value byearthly standards who attain the highest places in Heaven.
As I mentioned last Sunday, we cannot just worry about our own salvation. Charity demandsthat we help others along the path to salvation by living lives of Christian integrity, and by
being willing to speak the Truth and battle against the evils of our society.

While we should never seek division with others, we must be willing to suffer the pain ofdivision in order to be true to Christ and the Gospel. We must be willing to let people walk
away from us rather than walk away from Christ ourselves in order to appease them.

This willingness to be strong and steadfast in our faith while reaching out to others in charityis at the heart of the New Evangelization.
Sadly, the world is no longer Christian. Secularism is on the rise, and the faith of many isbeing eroded and lost – so much so that there is no longer consensus on what is morally right
and wrong.

Secular man has become so selfish and hardened to God that he can no longer distinguishwhat is truly right and wrong, even though the law of God is written upon all of our hearts.
Thus, we who live with the benefit of the Truth through our Lord’s one, holy, Catholic, andapostolic Church must find new ways to spread the Gospel message.
Priests, religious, and laity alike must be better formed and educated in the Faith and willingto use modern means to spread the Faith. We must be ever more committed to following
Christ’s command to serve the poor and marginalized.

And we must work diligently to form our children according to Gospel values so that theywill become courageous and knowledgeable leaders for our Church in the future.
Thus we must be committed to prayer. It is only through prayer that we become intimatewith our Lord so that we can love Him more and become more like Him. It is only through prayer that we find the strength to carry our Lord’s Good News out into the world. But
prayer is just the beginning. We need to do more: as individuals, as a parish, and as a


Thus, today I would like to take a few minutes to introduce and share the details of Forwardin Faith, Hope, and Love, a new and extremely important initiative of the diocese that St.
Ann has been participating in over the past few months to help with the New Evangelization.

In short, this initiative is meant to help our parish and our diocese prepare for the future sothat we can leave a more robust, flourishing, and stronger Catholic Church for our children
and for generations to come.

Our diocese has changed considerably since we were first founded in 1972. We’veexperienced tremendous growth over the years, opening many new parishes and expanding
and improving the ones that were already here – like St. Ann’s.

But with this increased growth has come increased pastoral and temporal needs. In the pastfew years the diocese has come to realize that we’re falling behind in providing for some of these needs, most especially our priest retirement fund, which is currently underfunded by $10 million.
Through Forward in Faith, Hope, and Love, we will strengthen parish life and ministries as the center of the Catholic community, provide for seminarian formation and retired clergy, ensure the vitality of Catholic education for present and future generations, support pastoral and temporal resources, and expand the essential services provided by Catholic ministries.
Specifically, over the next 5 years, the diocese hopes to raise $65 million in order to prepare for the increasing needs in our diocese. The beautiful part of this is that a portion of the monies raised comes back to the parish for our own use.
In the coming weeks you’ll see a bulletin insert that details how the money will be spent. To break it down in rough terms, $13 million will be spent on our retired clergy and seminarians. This campaign will increase the endowment for seminarians, and provide additional funds to ensure that our retired priests are well cared for after their many years of ministry.
$12.75 million will set aside for Catholic education in order to increase tuition assistance for those who attend Catholic schools, to help improve Catholic school facilities, to provide education and training to catechists serving in parish-based faith formation programs, and to bolster campus ministry to Catholic college students.
Another $11.5 million will be set aside to serve the poor in our area, increasing our anti- poverty efforts, and building low cost housing for low income and vulnerable populations.
And lastly, $11.75 million will be used for the pastoral and temporal needs of the diocese,increasing the endowment that takes care of the day-to-day operations of our various diocesan ministries, providing much-needed funds for the restoration of the Cathedral, and improving our diocesan retreat centers.
The remaining 25% of the monies will be returned to the parishes for their own needs. Specifically, we plan to use the money we receive to eliminate our debt and to create the last major piece of art for the church: a mural for our apse wall.
As most of you know, we did conduct a debt reduction campaign 4 years ago for our mortgage, which has substantially reduced our debt. As most of you have already fulfilled your pledges, we were originally scheduled to have the debt elimination campaign last year.
However, because the diocese was in the process of planning for this campaign, they have asked us to do a combined campaign with them so that parish and diocesan needs can be met.
The goal set for us by the diocese is $1,135,000. However, in order to fully retire the debt and pay for the mural, we need to raise in excess of $2 million. The good news is that to date, our parish has already raised $1,245,400: which is almost 2/3 of our goal!
This is from the efforts of just a small portion of our parish– and it gives me great optimism that this effort will inspire the rest of you to be generous as well.
Over the next few weeks, you will be contacted by mail or by phone by a fellow parishioner. I ask you to please welcome this call, as parishioners are volunteering to help me with this important effort.
I would also like to ask you for your help as volunteers to assist with sharing the vision of Forward in Faith, Hope, and Love with your fellow parishioners. We are very blessed here at St. Ann to have a growing parish, and we need many hands to lighten the load of contacting as many families as we can.
Just as we have benefitted from the sacrifices of those who have gone before us, now it is our opportunity to serve our present needs and leave a legacy for those to come. Moreover, now is the time for us to spread the Good News of the Gospel in these ways.
I am supportive and enthusiastic of this initiative because I have seen what we, as a Diocesan faith community, have accomplished since our founding. And I have seen what we—the St. Ann community—have accomplished as well.
But most importantly, I support this initiative because it is a great means of securing the future of our parish and our diocese, and it’s a great way for us to help re-evangelize our world.
In closing, I thank you for patiently listening; I hope you will be prayerful and generous in your support of this campaign – for the sake of St. Ann’s, for the sake of the diocese, and for the sake of the New Evangelization.

25 August 2013

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
To enable the audio, lease go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

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