I. “Enlisting Witnesses for Jesus Christ” is the theme for this Catechetical Sunday, September 16. We live in a secularized society which continues to squeeze Christianity to the margins or completely out choking our engagement with Jesus Christ and His Church. Many parents are saddened to report that their children are leaving the Church after preparing for and celebrating initiation Sacraments, and after years of Catholic school or parish religion classes. Those who identify as atheists or agnostics (“nones”) now make up roughly 23% of the U.S adult population.
At the same time, we are blessed with an incredibly generous cohort of faithful who are sacramentally graced to give Gospel witness in their homes, schools, athletic events, and workplaces—if only they were invited, trained and supported in their outreach as missionary disciples. It will take the whole Church’s witness and engagement of the “nones.” inside and outside the walls of church and across society, to reach out, accompany them, and share the joy of the Gospel with them.
In imitation of Jesus’ encounter with two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke to 4:13-35), we become more familiar with terms like “accompany,” “evan-gelizing” and “catechizing.” Each of us is called to an “encounter” with Jesus, sharing in a deeper faith experience.
Thanks to our catechists who teach religious education, who lead Scripture study and faith sharing groups, those who are sponsor couples to our engaged, those who lead “That Man Is You, TMIY” or “Marriage Matters,” and those who mentor our youth, etc. Thank you for living your faith intentionally and sharing your faith generously!
II. Congratulations to Eddie & Mary Ann O’Bryan, who received the Sophia Award this year on behalf of St. Stephen Cathedral faith community. Mary Ann has been involved in our parish for many many years as a Minister of Care, a member of our Arts and Environment Committee, and more. Eddie is a faithful sacristan and server, and church cleaner, to mention a few! Thank you for you!
III. The Youth Ministry Kickoff—this Sunday, September 16! Meet at our Cathedral Youth House (7th Street & Locust) for a Cookout and outdoor games! From 4:30-6:00pm, the 5th & 6th graders will meet; from 6:00-8:00pm the 9th-12th graders will meet. All youth are invited & strongly encouraged to be there! Please join us! We know many youth have experienced Gasper River Catholic Youth Camp and Retreat Center, and know Ben Warrell, who will join us!! We do need a few parents/adults who are able to assist with food serving, help us with our cleanup, and simply be present. Bring your outdoor chairs! Enjoy the fun & fellowship!
IV. Childcare on Sunday at 9:00am Mass: Several parents have inquired about childcare, sharing that “it is difficult to concentrate on the Eucharist when battling a child!” We now have trained and qualified persons for childcare at our Cathedral Pre-School location. Use that safe Pre-School door!
V. CHILD SAFETY is essential everywhere. Parents, we ask you to please accompany your child to the restroom during Mass, if there is a need. I recommend that you take care of your child’s needs BEFORE Mass if at all possible. While the entire Mass is important, to leave during the consecration is an added distraction. Thank you.