Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Know, Love, and Serve continues throughout diocese
by Brian Kraut, for the Inland Register
(From the December 18, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)
The Know, Love, and Serve process continues in parishes and Catholic entities throughout the diocese, with advisory boards, pastoral councils and pastors working together to draft four-year parish pastoral plans in response to Archbishop Cupich’s pastoral letter, “Joy Made Complete” (IR 9/18/14). These efforts of planning and preparation could not be occurring at a more appropriate time in the liturgical year: Advent, a season guided by the words of John the Baptist, “Prepare the way of the Lord!” Those tasked with preparing pastoral plans have invested countless hours seeking God’s desires for the church communities in which we live and pray. During this Advent season let each of us explore how we can best prepare the way of the Lord.
In his pastoral letter, Archbishop Cupich asks each of us: “Will you help to move the agenda of the Church from maintenance to mission?” Preparation is at the center of this question. Now is the time to prepare to be a part of the mission. Many ask: What is the mission of the church, and how does this include me? The mission is the church’s response to the love of God, established through the incarnation of the Son, and empowered by the work of the Holy Spirit.
In the U.S. bishops’ document “Go and Make Disciples,” the primary mission of the church is defined as evangelization. Evangelization is the continuation of the works of Jesus Christ, to make his name known and loved. Evangelization is when someone truly encounters the love of God through his Son, and they can’t help but share this with others. It is embodied in the spiritual and corporal acts of mercy. Mission is what each of us was baptized to be and do: to bring the greatest gift the world has ever received to the ends of the earth.
Mission can’t be accomplished through a passive response or a deferral of responsibility to others. The root of the word mission means sent. This is an action word addressed to all. We the faithful have been entrusted with the Good News, and we are sent. This sending is from Jesus’ own words in Matthew 28: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
During this Advent may each of us take to heart the challenge of the season, preparation, by seeking holiness through the sacramental graces so we can better be the ambassadors of hope and love we are called to be. Give the greatest gift this Christmas: Give witness to who Christ is in your life. Give that witness to those around you, for your life may be the only gospel someone ever reads.
May the Holy Spirit continue this work of making joy complete. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “the Holy Spirit is the protagonist, the principal agent of the whole of the Church’s mission. It is he who leads the Church on her missionary paths” (CCC 852).
As Christmas music fills your life, don’t hesitate to joyfully proclaim the words: “Go! Tell it on the mountain! Over the fields and everywhere, that Jesus Christ is born.” “Joy to the World! The Lord has come! Let Earth receive her King!” And, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”
(Kraut is director of the diocese’s Office of Parish Support Services.)
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