CATHOLIC BIBLICAL STUDIES PROGRAM: Three of our parishioners have already expressed an interest in enrolling in the Catholic Biblical Studies Program beginning this Fall – Wednesday evenings, starting in October. The Parish will gladly sponsor all who wish to attend as part of our commitment to Adult Faith Enrichment. The Parish will pick up any fees, tuition and book costs. The Catholic Biblical Studies Program is one of the finest opportunities available locally to grow in your knowledge and understanding of the Bible. As the name suggests, this is a theologically well-grounded and spiritually nourishing approach to the Bible. Taught by trained teachers, this Program was begun during the ministry of Bishop Head and has lasted for 23 years. Most students see this as the beginning of a life time of learning and being immersed in the Word of God. The Word of God is integrated into one’s personal spiritual journey. (It fits in so well as we ponder our parish journey of growing into “dynamic Catholics”.) If any other parishioners or visitors are interested in learning more about the Catholic Biblical Studies Program call 716-871-9180, visit: email@example.com or speak with Father Peter.
A parishioner’s thoughts.
Attached are some thoughts on understanding God written by parishioner Al Oechsner:
June’s Call-To-Action is relatively simple: learn something more about our patron saint, Aloysius Gonzaga. There are a wealth of books in our Trautenberg Library on the lives of Saints. Just stop by the library and read one of the short biographies of his life. Then ask yourself: what is there about the life of Aloysius Gonzaga that could help me become a more “dynamic Catholic”? What can I imitate in my life? Maybe it would be Aloysius’ love for the Eucharist, or his devotion to the Mother of God, or his generous service of the sick and poor, or his desire to be pure, or his obedience to his Religious Superiors? Whatever it is – take something from the life of St. Aloysius Gonzaga and really strive to put it into practice in your daily life. Imitating St. Aloysius Gonzaga is another “baby step” on that great journey to growing into a “dynamic Catholic”. See you on the Journey!
Our June Call-to-Action is to learn more about our patron saint, St. Aloysius Gonzaga – with the hope that St. Aloysius can guide us on the great journey towards becoming a more “dynamic Catholic”. How can you learn more about St. Aloysius? Lots of ways! Stop by the Trautenberg Library and look through the section on the lives of saints. Look up St. Aloysius Gonzaga in the Catholic Encyclopedia. Google “St. Aloysius Gonzaga” on the internet. Attend the parish Feast Day Mass. Participate in the June book discussion. Ask another parishioner what she/he knows about St. Al. Read and reflect upon the bulletin insert being prepared. Hopefully you will discover that St. Aloysius Gonzaga has a lot to teach us about following Jesus Christ – boldly and credibly – and a lot to teach us about what it means to witness to Christ, to be a “dynamic Catholic”. St. Aloysius Gonzaga, pray for us!
As a parish community on the road to becoming a parish filled to overflowing with “dynamic Catholics”, we commit ourselves during the months of April, May and June to become more “dynamic Catholics” by growing in our Faith. In April we were to read the Sunday Scriptures before coming to Mass ONCE. During May, we were to visit our Trautenberg Library and see the rich resources available to us to help us grow in Faith ONCE. June’s Call-To-Action is to learn more about our patron saint, Aloysius Gonzaga – not just to learn the details of his life, but to learn from him how to serve the poor, to become people of prayer, to spread the Gospel – the other signs of a “dynamic Catholic”. Go on line and Google St. Aloysius Gonzaga, or visit our parish library and take out a book on the saints or read the encyclopedia about St. Aloysius, participate in the book discussion on him, attend the parish feast day Mass on Thursday, June 20th, at 7PM. St. Aloysius Gonzaga teaches all of us how to live as a more “dynamic Catholic”. During the month of June, learn more about our Patron Saint, St. Aloysius Gonzaga.
CATHOLIC BIBLICAL STUDIES PROGRAM: In recent years about 5 parishioners have enrolled in the Catholic Biblical Studies Program – a wonderful way to integrate Biblical Theology with one’s personal spiritual journey. Taught by trained teachers, this Program has stood the test of time (23 years)! It is not a “quick journey” or a simple program of faith reflection but one that confronts some of the complex ideas and rich insights that are the rewards of a serious encounter with the Word of God This Fall, the Level One Classes will again take place in our school building on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9PM. As part of our parish commitment to Adult Faith Enrichment, the parish will once again sponsor any individual who wishes to begin the journey of a deeper understanding of the Bible and a deeper intimacy with God through His Holy Word. The parish sponsorship includes tuition, fees and books. Ultimately the parish is enriched as more “informed Catholics” become involved in ministries and organizations. If interested in learning more about the Catholic Biblical Program, call 716-871-9180 or visit: firstname.lastname@example.org.
MAY’S CALL-TO-ACTION: During April, May and June, we are focusing our attention on “Growing in our Catholic Faith” as we strive as a parish to become the “dynamic Catholic” described so powerfully by Matthew Kelly in his book, “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic”. The Call-to-Action for the month of May is to visit the Trautenberg Library ONCE – just to see what our parish library contains and perhaps even borrow a book, CD, DVD, magazine, Video (if you still have a machine to use it with!), tape. A “good Catholic” today is an “informed Catholic”… and an “informed Catholic” is well on the way towards becoming a “dynamic Catholic”. Think of the resources Parish Leadership has placed in your hands over the past two years to help us on our journey towards becoming “dynamic Catholics”: -two books: “Rediscover Catholicism” and “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic” – two CDs: “The Seven Building Blocks of Catholicism” and “The Meaning of the Mass” – sponsorship in the Catholic Biblical Studies Program – sponsorship at various conferences centering on men and women’s spirituality – workshops at the seminary on Liturgy, Parish Life and Evangelization – bulletin inserts on various topics Have you read the books? Listened to the CDs? Attended a workshop? Discussed your faith with anyone? During May, stop by the Trautenberg Library (located behind the main altar in the Church) and see the wide variety of media available on all topics: Scripture, Mass, Lives of Saints, Mary, Moral Problems, History of St. Al’s Parish, Sacraments. Matthew Kelly says that only 1% of Catholics read or listened to something that helps them understand better their Catholic Faith. Imagine what could happen here at St. Al’s if just 10% of our people really grew in their Catholic Faith during April, May and June. Join us on that great journey towards becoming a “dynamic Catholic”. Visit during May our Parish Library ONCE!
Throughout this Year of Faith, our parish focus has been the challenge to grow into “dynamic Catholics” – using Matthew Kelly’s book as a guide. The four signs of a “dynamic Catholic” are prayer, growth in faith, spreading the Gospel and generosity. During April, May and June, we have centered our attention on growing in our Catholic Faith. So during April, you were asked to read over the Sunday Scriptures before coming to Mass ONCE. May’s Call-To-Action is to visit our Trautenberg Library ONCE. The wide variety of resources in our Trautenberg Library – books on all subjects, parish history, tapes, DVDs, CDS, even VCRs – will help all of us deepen our understanding of what the Catholic Church teaches. As has been mentioned before, today more than ever, a “good Catholic” must become an “informed Catholic”. As Matthew Kelly puts it: “Catholics have an almost universal inferiority complex around how little they know about their faith…Highly engaged Catholics are continuous learners… They see themselves as students of Jesus and his Church, and they proactively make an effort to allow his teachings to guide and form them.” (pages 105-106) During May, get rid of that “inferiority complex”. Learn something new about your Catholic Faith. Visit our Trautenberg Library behind the main altar of our church. Borrow something from the library. Grow in your faith. Act on May’s Call-to-Action. Visit our parish library and enhance the journey toward becoming a “dynamic Catholic”.
WITNESS TALK AND APRIL’S CALL TO ACTION: As you are aware from the posters throughout our Church and School buildings, April’s Call-to-Action is to read the Sunday Scripture Readings before coming to Mass ONCE! Matthew Kelly told us that a truly “dynamic Catholic” grows in her/his understanding of the Faith. This weekend, Pam Timmel will give the “witness talk” – sharing with us how reading the Scriptures before coming to Mass has helped her grow in the Catholic Faith. Our monthly “Call-to-Action” is actually helping many of our parishioners – and even some of our visitors from other parish communities who pray with us – slowly but surely evolve into “dynamic Catholics”. Several people have mentioned to parish leadership that these simple actions are helping them to live, love and act differently – having been reminded by Matthew Kelly that “blending in” no longer cuts it. Notice the signs posted around our church. Have YOU started to put these actions into practice in your life? Dynamic Catholics do NOT “blend in”. In Kelly’s words, “I am just trying to encourage people to take one step closer to God each day.” There is still time during April to take “the one step” by reading Sunday’s Scriptures before coming to Mass ONCE.
APRIL’S CALL TO ACTION: As we journey towards becoming a “dynamic Catholic”, “the best version of ourselves”, “credible witnesses” to Jesus Christ, as a parish community, during the month of April, we commit ourselves to read the Sunday Scriptures before coming to Mass ONCE. Those who have done it ONCE during April – and those who do so regularly – have told Father Peter that it really helps them understand the Scripture Readings so much better and gives them time to reflect upon how they can put the Word of God into action in their lives during the coming week. Have you fulfilled April’s Call to Action yet? Why not? Can you really be too busy to take 15 minutes to look up the Readings, read them and reflect upon them quietly during April ONCE? The monthly Call to Action challenges have the potential of changing us from ordinary Catholics into extraordinary Catholics, from Sunday Catholics into Catholics who put their faith into action every day of the week , and from lukewarm Catholics into Catholics literally on fire with the Gospel – to change us into “dynamic Catholics” – credible witnesses to Jesus Christ. Be bold! Be Catholic! Become a truly “dynamic Catholic”.
Matthew Kelly writes in “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic”: “Catholics have an almost universal inferiority complex around how little they know about their faith… People deserve answers to their questions, especially those surrounding their faith. Highly engaged Catholics (that is, “dynamic Catholics”) are continuous learners. They see themselves as students of Jesus and his Church and they proactively make an effort to allow his teachings to guide and form them… Dynamic Catholics have a routine for their continuous learning. They have a plan.” (pages 105-106) Since we as a parish began our common journey towards becoming – little by little, slowly but surely – “Dynamic Catholics”, parish leadership have gifted every family with two books: “Rediscover Catholicism” and “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic”. We have sent to every family two CDs: “The Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality” by Matthew Kelly and, most recently, “The Meaning of the Mass” with Father Larry Richards. Parishioners have gone to hear Matthew Kelly when he spoke in our Diocese and even more parishioners have participated in book discussions, faith sharing events, workshops and evenings of spiritual growth for women and men. This weekend about six parishioners will attend a workshop at Christ the King Seminary on parish renewal. All of these are amazing and wonderful opportunities for each one of us to become a “dynamic Catholic” by growing in our knowledge and understanding of our Catholic Faith. That is why April’s Call to Action is a challenge for each one of us to grow in our faith by “reading the Sunday Scripture readings before coming to Mass ONCE”. The Word of God is meant to be heard and lived – by reading the Sunday Scriptures before coming to Mass you will understand them better and be able to act upon them for the coming week more credibly. Just once – a real baby step – but you have to begin somewhere – so just ONCE during April read the Sunday Scripture. It is another baby step on that great and wonderful journey to becoming a “dynamic Catholic”. And while reflecting on how to become a “dynamic Catholic” by growing in your faith: Did you read either book?, Did you listen to either CD?, Did you perform January, February or March’s Call to Action? Notice the posters throughout our Church and School – please join us in filling St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parish with truly DYNAMIC CATHOLICS – women, men, youth, children who love Jesus Christ and witness to Him by the kindness of our words and the gentleness of our actions and full participation in the Mass and Sacraments of the Catholic Church.
APRIL’S CALL TO ACTION – THE DYNAMIC CATHOLIC JOURNEY: For the months of April, May and June, as a parish we will focus on Matthew Kelly’s second sign of a dynamic Catholic: a person who grows in knowledge and understanding of our Catholic Faith. April’s Call to Action is: to read the Sunday Scripture readings before coming to Mass ONCE. It sounds like a small thing – a small step – a baby step – but an important step on the journey – you have to begin somewhere – so read the Sunday Scriptures before coming to Mass ONCE. The readings are printed in the Sunday bulletin and you can then find them in your family Bible. The readings are also printed in the Celebrating the Eucharist missalette. Matthew Kelly puts it this way: “Each day we need to develop our store of knowledge about the Catholic faith, so that we can live it more deeply with every passing day and so we can answer more and more questions other people have about the faith…” (page 90) So: re-read Kelly’s book, The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic; read our April Catholic newspaper; listen to Father Larry Richards’ CD on “The Meaning of the Mass”; and during April, read the Sunday Scripture readings before coming to Mass ONCE. Who knows? – it might help you so much with understanding the Sunday Readings, making the Mass more meaningful, gaining wisdom from the Homily that you will want to read the Sunday Scripture every week. What a great way to journey through this “Year of Faith” announced by our Pope-Emeritus, Pope Benedict XVI – doing our best as individuals and as a parish family to become really and truly a community of “dynamic Catholics”!
ON THE ROAD TO BECOMING A DYNAMIC CATHOLIC: Remember what Matthew Kelly has taught us: there are four signs of a “dynamic Catholic” – prayer, generous service, growth in Faith and spreading the Good News of Jesus. During January, February and March, our community was challenged to become people of prayer. January’s Call to Action was to attend a weekday Mass ONCE. During February we were to pray the Rosary as a family ONCE. We were asked to make a Eucharistic Holy Hour of Adoration during March ONCE. Small steps – baby steps – on the journey to become a “dynamic Catholic” For the next three months, our focus will be on growing in our Catholic Faith (pages 75 thru 106 in The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly). Reread this section in Matthew Kelly’s book. Our April “Call to Action” is to read over the Sunday Scripture Readings before coming to Mass ONCE. You will be amazed how much more meaningful the Sunday Readings are if you have read them, reflected upon them, prayed over them before actually coming to Mass. The Sunday Readings are listed for the next Sunday in the bulletin. They can also be found in “Celebrating the Eucharist”. It is a small step – but an important step – on the road to becoming a more “dynamic Catholic”. Matthew Kelly was asked what he was trying to accomplish through his books. He responded: “I am just trying to encourage people to take one step closer to God each day.” Reading the Sunday Scriptures before coming to Mass is one step closer to God – and what a great journey that is! Join us on the exciting journey of becoming a “dynamic Catholic”!