July 28, 2019 – 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I.  We Have To Start Inviting! The truth is the only way we will get new people to our Church is by inviting them—we need to evangelize. As Catholics, we are not known for our evangelization skills. Evangelism is still a scary word for many Catholics. We tend to be quiet about our faith, careful not to offend or make others feel awkward. Can’t we just live by example and let that serve as our evangelization? The answer is NO.  Often words are necessary.

     We are blessed and excited to have 12 people inquiring about our Catholic Faith. All 12 people are here because someone invited them. We also have about 15 parishioners interested in walking that RCIA Journey of Faith with one of our candidates or catechumens. They are all interested because someone invited them to travel that journey. Our 2019-20 RCIA Journey of Faith begins July 31.

     Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in sharing your faith with someone; you might be surprised to learn just how easy it can be to extend that invitation to learn more about our Catholic way of life.

II.  Does Prayer change God or Does prayer change Me?  For Jesus, more than an action, prayer is a way of being, a way of living out a relationship with His father. Because of this, Jesus can pray in all situations—in thanksgiving, blessing, or even deep grief as He prays in Gethsemane.  He prays for the cup to pass Him by. Jesus tells us, “Ask and you will receive,” and yet it seems as though this Gethsemane prayer wasn’t answered. Jesus did undergo “the final test” even as He taught His disciples to pray for God to deliver them from it.

       We have all known the experiences of feeling as though our prayers have gone un- answered. In the movie Shadowlands, about Christian author C. S. Lewis, there is a line spoken by Lewis’s character: “I pray because the need flows out of me all the time—waking and sleeping. . . . It doesn’t change God—it changes me.” Seen this way, prayer is a tool of our own transformation. God didn’t stop the crucifixion, and yet, through His complete love of God and gift of Himself, Jesus could not remain dead. He rose! In prayer we enter into the Paschal Mystery. May it lead us to new life, too! 

III.  Registration for Faith Formation is now open! There are registration packets located at all the doors of the church. Faith Formation will begin on Sunday, August 11 from 10:15-11:30am. To cover all learning materials, there is a $50 fee per child (this is negotiable where needed) which can be paid by check made payable to Saint Stephen Cathedral or, if more convenient, through our online WeShare program. There will be an opportunity to register after the 9:00am Mass on Sunday, August 4th in the Community Center. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Hannah Bland, Director of Children’s Ministry, 270/683-6525 or [email protected]

IV.  What Do You Read?  While recovering from a severe wound he received in battle, Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) read a “Life of Christ” and the “Lives of the Saints” only because in the hospital they were the only books—certainly not his preference! His reading changed his life! As a soldier he decided to lay his military equipment before a statue of Mary at the Benedictine Abby of Montserrat and spent several months  in a cave near Manresa. After making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he enrolled at the University of Paris, where he gathered six companions who would become the first Jesuits. Ignatius was the founder and first Father General of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), and the author of the Spiritual Exercises, which has assisted thousands of people along their spiritual journey. His Feast Day is Wednesday, July 31st.

V.  Away To Rest and Recharge: I will be away on vacation July 31 to August 8.  If you need to speak with a priest, please contact Father Sinoj. To meet other needs, any member of our capable pastoral team will be eager to be of assistance. As your pastor, I rely upon your prayers.