‘Receive and Be the Light of Christ!’
BY DR. JEFF ANDRINI, OFFICE OF EVANGELIZATION AND DISCIPLESHIP
On December 2, pastors, parish leaders and Catholic school principals from around the diocese will gather. “Receive and Be the Light of Christ” is the theme for the event and it is the first major in-person gathering of our diocese since March 2020! The event will model what is needed in parishes, schools and in our own spiritual lives as Catholics.
Our diocesan gathering will begin with an extended prayer service. We will worship God through song, prayer and silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament followed by an exercise acknowledging our grief and hardships through the pandemic over the past 18 months. The entire prayer will be an opportunity for each participant to encounter Jesus and receive grace and hope from God’s heart. Before any of us can be the light of Christ for others, we must allow ourselves to be filled with love from God. Our daily prayer and contemplation, regular reception of the Eucharist and special times for faith sharing and formation, as well as an annual retreat are all ways we can receive grace from God. What are some other ways you experience God’s love? Once received, we have something to share with others and we can be the light of Christ to others.
The next aspect of our event will be to celebrate the fruit we have seen in our own lives and in our parishes over the past four years as we participated in the annual Living as Missionary Disciples gatherings. Ministry leaders will gather in small groups to discuss “What fruit they have seen in their parish in the areas of ‘encounter,’ ‘accompany,’ ‘community’ and ‘send’? And what opportunities are present to keep moving these forward?”
In the afternoon we will share a meal together and Bishop Medley will share a message. He will be highlighting our new mission, “To be missionary disciples of Jesus, making present the kingdom of God” and introducing the upcoming synodal process in our diocese. The synodal process was initiated by Pope Francis and the idea is that we become a listening and discerning Church. Listening to the needs of others and discerning how the mission of Jesus calls us to care for those in need and proclaim the good news of God’s love to the world.
The day will close with some practical tools for parishes to share our new mission and pray for a movement of the Holy Spirit across our diocese. Our parish leaders will be challenged to take what they have “received” from Jesus and to “Be the Light of Christ” for those they serve in their parish and beyond.
We will kick off 2022 with a prayer effort across the diocese and look forward to many gathered ministry opportunities in the coming year. Wishing you and yours a blessed Advent and Christmas season.
Peace in Christ,
Dr. Jeff Andrini is the director of the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally printed in the December 2021 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.