Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
December 28, 2009
Catholics reading, sharing God's Word could transform Church
Delegates to '08 synod see possibility of 'revolution'
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA - As the Catholics await the final document from last year's Synod on the Word of God, one of the Canadian bishops who participated said its effects could revolutionize the Church.
"If we take seriously the challenge of reading the Word of God in the Roman Catholic Church it's going to be a revolution, outpacing the revolution of 1968 or the Quiet Revolution of Quebec," said Archbishop Terrence Prendergast.
"It's going to change us," he told a forum of representatives of about 50 Catholic associations, groups and movements here. "It can't help but have an effect. It's exciting to contemplate that."
After displaying a slide show of the October 2008 synod and outlining the discussion, Prendergast said the change will not come from the final document, but from Catholics acting on it.
"It's going to come from people reading the Word of God and sharing with each other," he said.
HUNGER FOR ETERNITY
The Ottawa archbishop described the hunger for eternity in all age groups, yet many within the Church become preoccupied with their own spiritual growth and forget about others.
He recalled telling a group of seniors about the many in their age group who do not go to Church. "Are you going to become evangelists rather than just turn in on yourselves?" he asked them.
"We need to find time to be rooted, we need to find time for prayer, and have the other dimension of going out and sharing it," Prendergast said.
"If you really let the word of God touch you, you can't help but become a missionary, you can't but want to share, you have to become an evangelizer."
Bishops, lay people, religious, deacons - all have a mission to listen to the Word of God, "let it touch you, let it change you and invite other people to come and taste the change."
Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) president and CEO Jeff Lockert spoke of a "general crisis in the quality of preaching" in Sunday services.
Youth evangelized to Christ through CCO come to their home parishes and do not find "the same vibrancy and applicability in the preaching," Lockert said. Though CCO hopes the young people will stay in their parishes, they need the nourishing of the Word of God.
Alexandria-Cornwall Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher replied that while everyone admits there's a crisis, they say to themselves: "Thank God, I'm a good preacher." The challenge is recognizing that "we all need personal formation."
NET Ministries president Joe Vogel said NET's evangelizing teams at Catholic high schools are finding high school students who "do not know who Jesus is" and teachers who "do not have a personal relationship with Jesus teaching our young people about the Church."
Vogel also raised concerns about retreat centres and chaplaincies that have been "infiltrated" by the New Age movement, when students are looking for rejuvenation in the Catholic faith.
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