On the threshold of hope
By Father Richard Erikson
Posted: 8/17/2007 in The Pilot
In 1994, the Great John Paul II wrote about how we, as Catholics,
are privileged to, and challenged to, cross the threshold
of hope. He wrote, “It is very important to cross the
threshold of hope, not to stop before it, but to let oneself
be led.” As I look to the months and years ahead for
the community of Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston, I
see countless reasons for us to live in “joyful hope
for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” Today I
am mentioning three key pastoral initiatives as reasons for
hope and as moments when we are daring to be led by the Holy
Spirit: two presbyteral convocations (clergy gatherings);
Renew, a comprehensive process of renewal for all members
of our Catholic family through prayer and sharing of our faith;
and the yearlong celebration of our bicentennial.
are ordained for service to the faithful, and therefore, renewal
of the priesthood is critical to the spiritual renewal of
our Catholic family. Our priests will have two opportunities
to gather in convocation, Sept. 14 and Nov. 20. We will be
discussing our shared ministry, particularly the experience
of the past five years, and looking at our hopes for the future.
The meetings are designed to complement one another as, over
the two days, we will support and encourage each other in
our efforts to continue the ministry of Jesus Christ in the
Archdiocese of Boston and beyond.
What do our priests gain from gathering as a group? The priesthood
is meant to be a common effort, and yet, because so many parishes
have only one priest, it is easy for us to feel isolated.
Convocations serve as a reminder that we are not alone. Not
only are we part of our parish communities, but we are also
part of a community of priests who have been through a lot
together. We hope that these two convocations will strengthen
and uplift our priests as we continue to move forward in our
mission of service.
program entitled “ARISE Together in Christ” is
being introduced to the archdiocese to help renew parish life
and to help parishioners strengthen their spiritual lives.
Additionally, we hope the renewal effort will inspire Catholics
who are not currently active to return to the Church. RENEW
International, a greatly respected and effective Catholic
organization, has created the process, which has been customized
to meet our archdiocese’s needs.
At the heart of the program will be the creation of small
groups. The groups will meet weekly for six weeks to read
and reflect upon Scripture. Members of the groups will be
encouraging one another into active discipleship, supporting
each other as they look for ways to bring God more fully into
their daily lives. Renew International will train local parish
leaders, who in turn will train session leaders to shepherd
the process within their parishes. Another exciting aspect
of the program, which will be offered in the fall of 2008,
is that it will be available in English, Spanish, Portuguese,
Haitian Creole, and Vietnamese.
The objective is empowerment. The program will challenge
us to ask: How do I encounter God in my everyday life? How
can I join with others to deepen and share my faith? And then,
how do I connect that faith with action?
Both the convocations and the RENEW program are taking place
within the context of the Archdiocese of Boston’s Bicentennial
celebration, which begins with Advent, Dec. 2, 2007, and runs
through Nov. 23, 2008. Our bicentennial year is a great opportunity
for us to reflect on where we’ve been and where we are
going. The Catholics in Boston 200 years ago risked their
lives to attend Mass and to promote the faith. They would
be amazed by the opportunities for spiritual development and
expression we have today. Through those opportunities, our
life together in the Archdiocese of Boston can be strengthened
As we look at the challenges and opportunities of the past
and of the future, and as we seek the outpouring of the Holy
Spirit in renewal, let us thank God that whenever we stand
together with Jesus Christ and each other, we cross the threshold
Father Erikson is vicar general and moderator of the curia
of the Archdiocese of Boston.
To learn more about RENEW
International click here .
More RENEW International Testimonials.
RENEW International Links click here
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