As shepherd of the Catholic of Diocese of Fort Worth, my travels take me to every corner of our Local Church, around the United States, and sometimes as far away as Rome, Italy. Through the “Shepherd of Fort Worth” blog, I wish to share with you important information about our diocese, the wonderful spirit of our Catholic faith, the people I encounter, and the blessings of daily life.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
UD Ministry Conference
Dallas/Fort Worth UD Ministry Conference
Irving – October 26-27, 2012
Dear brothers and sisters gathered here at our Dallas/Fort Worth/UD Ministry Conference,
We are gathered here at this closing Mass following two days of reflection, prayer, study, and gathering of the "Family of God" from here in North Texas and beyond! We are also celebrating this closing Mass of these two days at nearly the same time that the Synod of Bishops in Rome is concluding there reflection on the "New Evangelization." Among many other important points in the final message of the Synod - which in essence is that the "Church is called to something new" - we find the words that “Before saying anything about the forms that this new evangelization must assume, we feel the need to tell you with profound conviction that the faith determines everything in the relationship with the person of Jesus who takes the initiative to encounter us."
The entire closing message is not long, and is certainly worth reading in its entirety. However, the above reflection about a "personal encounter" with Jesus himself certainly is found in the Gospel for this Sunday, and can frame these days of prayer and reflection and study for us. In the dialogue among Jesus, the crowd, and the blind man, we hear "Son of David, have pity on me...Call him...Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you...What do you want me to do for you...Master I want to see...Go your way, your faith has saved you...."
Let us place ourselves and those we love in that dialogue these days. We begin this Year of Faith; indeed the Lord is calling us, and the whole Church to a new way of living. Let us stop and listen. We will have the courage to follow, but it will mean taking a risk, because it means living our lives of faith fully and completely, and that means we will be visible and clear in our witness. We need to pray daily for courage to get up and follow, and to make our prayer "I want to see." Many things prevent us, and our culture, from seeing. What do we want to be healed of, and what do we want to see? And, when we realize then, that our faith has indeed saved us, we have to get up, follow, and go. St. Mark’s Gospel is quite clear that once he could see, the formerly blind man followed…not in a day or so, or week or so, but right away. These days and following, that is our calling as well. Otherwise, the "new evangelization" will be just another program, not a way of new life for the Body of Christ. And, we all have had plenty of programs that made no difference!
May Our Lady of Guadalupe, whom is called the "Star of the New Evangelization", guide us, protect us, and lead us forward to her Son.
God bless you always and thank you for all.
+ Bishop Kevin W. Vann, JCD, DD
Posted by Bishop
Kevin W. Vann, JCD., DD