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By Deacon Keith Fournier

3/9/2014 (4 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The new evangelization is going to depend very much on an army of lay people feeling responsible for their Church and for them to be messengers of the good news to their families, their neighbors and the community at large.

For many people it has been a year of surprises. The Holy Father has such a refreshing style and a desire to be close to people and accessible. He is even accessible in the way he expresses himself. He has made quite an impact on the world. I don't remember any other pope whose daily homily was followed so assiduously by so many around the globe. Before, we used to think that the Holy Father's travel and linguistic abilities were the way he communicated, but this man communicates without leaving home and without saying anything except in Italian! It is amazing.- Cardinal SeŠn Patrick O'Malley

Cardinal Se√°n Patrick O'Malley

Cardinal Se√°n Patrick O'Malley

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/9/2014 (4 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: New Evangelization, field hospital, Pope Francis, curia, reform, Cardinal Se√°n Patrick O'Malley, Antonio M. Enrique, Boston Pilot, Deacon Keith Fournier


BOSTON,MA (Catholic Online) - I was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. I remember with great fondness the salt of the earth folks who filled my childhood. That is part of the reason I was happy to accept an invitation to speak at a Deacons conference for the Archdiocese of Boston several years ago.

I also knew that Cardinal SeŠn Patrick O'Malley would be there and I wanted to meet him. I have followed his service to the Lord for a long time. It has inspired me in my own. This man is a true Franciscan with a big heart for the Lord. When he enters the room, you are immediately drawn not to him, but to the Lord whom he serves with such simplicity and love.You just want to smile.  

By the grace of the Holy Spirit, we have been given some great Bishops in the United States- and beyond. One of them, as I saw so clearly on that weekend, is Cardinal SeŠn Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap. His obvious relationship with the Risen Jesus Christ comes through in his words, his warmth and his work with the faithful. He also understands the Gospel mandate to reach out to what pope Francis calls the peripheries,with the love of God.  I thank the Lord that, all those years ago now, when I lived in those peripheries, Jesus sent someone to me.

This Cardinal from Boston is a man who personally knows the Risen Lord Jesus, understands his priestly and Franciscan vocation, and lives it out in genuine humility. How refreshing! I was not at all surprised when Pope Francis chose the Cardinal to serve in a significant role in this pontificate. It confirmed my conviction that Francis is a special gift for the Church at this time of reform and in this new missionary age. He is selecting leaders after a clear time of discernment, with a specific pastoral plan.

The Cardinal recently gave a wide ranging interview to Antonio M. Enrique, for the Boston Pilot.  It was entitled, Cardinal reflects on Pope Francis' first year. I offer for our readers a few of the insightful responses below. I encourage all of our readers to go here to read the entire interview. I selected several questions and answers based upon the questions I often receive as the Editor in Chief of Catholic Online.

The responses of the Cardinal from Boston were as accurate as they were accessible, easy to understand. They were simple. So is Cardinal O'Malley. So is Pope Francis. Pray for both of these wonderful brothers in the Lord and thank God for such good Bishops in this new missionary age. May we learn from their simplicity, love for Jesus and the witness of their lives.

*****
How would you characterize the first year of Pope Francis' pontificate?

For many people it has been a year of surprises. The Holy Father has such a refreshing style and a desire to be close to people and accessible. He is even accessible in the way he expresses himself. He has made quite an impact on the world. I don't remember any other pope whose daily homily was followed so assiduously by so many around the globe. Before, we used to think that the Holy Father's travel and linguistic abilities were the way he communicated, but this man communicates without leaving home and without saying anything except in Italian! It is amazing.

You recently saw Pope Benedict at the Feb. 22 consistory. A year ago, the whole world was wondering what it would be like to have two living popes. What were your thoughts at the time, and what do think now?

It is the same as having a bishop emeritus in the diocese. It is a delicate position; the retired bishop cannot interfere, but he can be supportive and helpful. Obviously, I think that is what we are experiencing with Pope Benedict, who has publicly said that his task is going to be to pray for the Church and he is leading a very contemplative existence. And yet, he is still alive and it is wonderful when he participates in some of these more public events; just as in any diocese when the former bishop is invited back to be present for the chrism Mass or some other diocesan celebration.

Some are describing this papacy as a kind of break with the past, rather than continuity but with a different style. How would you describe this papacy compared to the previous papacies?

In my lifetime every papacy has been very different from the one that went before. As a child, it was Pius XII and he was an aristocrat, very ascetic. He sort of exuded holiness and there was a great reverence and awe about his person. But he ate alone; he was very isolated. Suddenly there comes John XXIII who was entirely different -- he had a great sense of humor, he was always joking, was very close to people, came from peasant stock. Even physically, he looked so different.

And then we had Paul VI who was in many ways a more modern pope. He began to travel. And then of course John Paul II whose papacy had such a profound influence on the situation in the world, changed the Iron Curtain. The Holy Father became present personally to millions and millions of Catholics. So each pope has been very, very different.

Obviously this is the first pope from Latin America. His whole pastoral experience has been much different from that of European bishops and he certainly brings a freshness and excitement to the task. But, when you look at the history of the Church, we have had popes who have been so different one from another and even as I say, in modern history.

Each one brings his own gifts and we have been so blessed by the presence of popes who have been holy men, very wise men, very pastoral men, and whose leadership has been a very positive thing in the life of the Church. This has not always been the case in our 2000 year history, but certainly in modern history we have been blessed by the popes that we have had.

At last year's consistory before the conclave, then-Cardinal Bergoglio spoke about his views on the current state of the Church. Those themes seem to have characterized his first year as Pope Francis. One of them was how the Church needs to come out of herself and go to the peripheries, both geographical and existential. Why is this emphasis important today?

There is always a danger of the Church retreating to the sacristy and abdicating our responsibility to do precisely what Jesus tells us to do -- make disciples of all nations, to leave behind the 99 and go in search of the one lost sheep.

The Lord in the Gospels is always reaching out to people on the periphery; the lame, the blind, the halt, the tax collector, the prostitute, the foreigner and the Lord brings them center stage. So, the Holy Father is simply reminding us that this is what the Gospel is about, that these people on the periphery become the protagonists of Jesus's ministry and they need to be the object of our love and our pastoral care.

Another topic the pope spoke about was the danger of spiritual worldliness in the Church that may require a push for reform. How do you see that playing out now?

Well, the Holy Father is concerned about careerism in the Church and he is constantly reminding people that the Holy Father is not a monarch surrounded by a court, but is a bishop of the community of faith and that is the perspective that he wants to communicate and for people to embrace.

His decision to live at the Domus Santa Marta is certainly not because the apartments in the apostolic palace are so luxurious, but because he does not want to be isolated. He wants to be part of the community and be connected to people. For him, the culture of encounter is what the Church needs to be about and he is certainly modeling that for us in so many ways.

Regarding that reform, you were appointed to the Holy Father's "G8" council of cardinals last April and recently returned from Rome, where you attended the third meeting of the council. Why do you think reforming the Roman Curia is such an important issue?

The Roman Curia is not a very large organization, but it is the only organization that the Holy Father has to help him perform his ministry. Obviously, he wants the Curia to be at the service of the universal Church and to do that there needs to be greater efficiency, transparency, collaboration among the different departments -- or dicasteries as they are called -- and a greater focus on collegiality, involvement with bishops around the world and the local Churches.

I think the Holy Father feels a very strong mandate because prior to the conclave it is something the cardinals spoke about so much. Of course, it all took place within the context of Vatileaks and all the other problems that have surfaced about the Vatican bank. These situations should never exist and the Holy Father is striving to make a Curia that will be more pastoral and will be at the service of the entire Church and be able to communicate that vision and enthusiasm for the joy of the Gospel that he is always preaching about.

He is also concerned about the spiritual welfare of the people in the Curia. He wants them to feel that they are there not just for a job, but they are part of a mission and that mission comes from Christ. To be able to carry it out we need to attend to our own interior life so that we have a sense of vocation and that we are being led by God's grace to seek God's will and to embrace it joyfully and generously in our lives.

The pope has made some high profile statements on homosexuality and pro-life issues that people are seeing as a change in direction. What is your perspective on what the pope has said and on how it is being interpreted across the Church and society at large?

The Church's teachings, particularly when they are demanding on people's lives, often are rejected out of hand. I think, as I said before, the Holy Father is trying to give us the context in which we live those teachings. That context is one of living God's love and his mercy and to be instruments of mercy in the world, helping people find the strength to live a life of discipleship that cannot be lived alone but in community. The Holy Father talks about the art of accompaniment and the culture of encounter and in our culture, which is so individualistic, the demands of the Gospel of course become impossible. When a person becomes truly part of a community of faith and begins to experience the joy of the Gospel the Holy Father is always speaking about, they experience God's love in their life; then what before seemed impossible and unreasonable suddenly becomes feasible and begins to make sense.

The pope has spoken of the Church as a field hospital. What do you think is the role of the Church as society becomes more secularized?

I see it, particularly in the United States, as moving away from being a cultural Catholicism, a tribal Catholicism where if you were Italian, Polish or Irish, you automatically received all the sacraments and went to Church and so forth. And now it is becoming much more intentional, depending much more on the individual. This will mean a new kind of evangelization that will be much more focused on meeting each individual and personally inviting them and mentoring them in the life of faith. We can no longer depend on cultural background to be enough.

Where that is as a starting point, that's wonderful, but the personal conversion to the Lord and the experience of his love and grace in our lives and a sense of community is all very important. Obviously a priest cannot do this on his own. The new evangelization is going to depend very much on an army of lay people feeling responsible for their Church and for them to be messengers of the good news to their families, their neighbors and the community at large.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



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