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The Beacon The Beacon January 1, 2015 : Page 1

2014  THE YE A R IN THE DIO C E S E IN REVIEW SUSSEX PASSAIC THE A W A RDWINNING NEW S P A PER OF THE R. C . DIO C E S E OF P A TER S ON, N.J. 8-9 MORRIS JANUARY 1, 2015 T HE N ATIVITY OF THE L ORD 12 7 The Catholic Center for Evangelization at Bayley-Ellard ‘Town hall’ meeting sparks dialogue at Chatham parish By MICHAEL WOJCIK NE WS EDIT OR BI S HOP C ELEBR A TE S C HRI S TM AS D A Y M ASS IN S T. VIRGIL C HUR C H BI S HOP M A KE S P AS TOR A L VI S IT TO S TR A IGHT A ND N A RROW ON C HRI S TM AS EVE 5 10 12 14-15 15 13 BEACON PHOTO | JOE GIGLI Y OUTH V IEWPOINT W HAT T O D O C LASSIFIEDS O BITUARIES After laying the Baby Jesus in the manger, Bishop Serratelli censes the Nativity scene at the Bishop Rodimer Center next to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Paterson, where the Bishop celebrated Mass on Christmas Eve night for the Nativity of the Lord. For more photos, please turn to page 2. ST. PAUL INSIDE THE WALLS Holy Spirit’s role in the Church examined By MICHAEL WOJCIK NE WS EDIT OR DO NOT DELAY — TIME SENSITIVE NEWS MADISON Through prayer and humility, Catholics can harness the power of the Holy Spirit, which can grant us the gifts and talents that we need to bring us into the right relationship with God and encourage and sustain us through the Church: the body of Christ. Most importantly, the Spirit can give us the power to carry out Christ’s command to his followers: to evangelize — speaking on his behalf by proclaiming the Gospel message, engaging in justice advo-cacy and extending compassion to people who are suffering. So declared Allan Wright, aca-demic dean of St. Paul Inside the Walls here, during a presentation about the Holy Spirit’s role in evan-gelization, which he delivered twice Passages in Old, New Testaments reveal movement of the Holy Spirit in evangelization late last year at the diocesan evan-gelization center. The Scripture scholar examined passages in the Old Testament and New Testament — especially Luke and Acts — to explore how the Holy Spirit em-powered Jesus, the Blessed Mother, the disciples and others in the Bible to evangelize more than 2,000 years ago — the same power that the Spirit longs to give us today. “Any person, who seeks this power should remember that it is, generally speaking, not some in-wardly focused, selfish, mystic expe-rience. The Holy Spirit is little inter-ested in making you feel good. Instead, He is greatly committed to making you effective in your wit-ness,” said Wright, who then noted that, most of the time in the Gos -pel of Luke, the Spirit comes down on a person to empower him or her to speak, as opposed to per-form some other ministry or task. “In Luke, people most clearly dem -onstrate that they are Spirit filled by preaching, teaching and sharing the faith. The Spirit gives people the power to witness through ac-tion and the Word,” he said. The Gospel of Luke shows the Holy Spirit empowering people, among them John the Baptist to prepare the way of Jesus; the Blessed Mother to say “yes” to God at the Annunciation; Jesus to being PRESENTATION on 6 CHATHAM Many of the 55 parishioners of St. Patrick’s here, who gathered one evening last fall for a “town hall” meeting in the Father Edward Hinds Center, came ready with their ques tions, con cerns and com ments about the life of the Morris Coun ty faith community — from the theologi-cal, such as “How does music get chosen for Mass?” to the pastoral, such as “Why isn’t the church more handi-capped acces-sible?” A pan-el of seven made up of clergy, staff members and fellow parishioners of St. Patrick’s listened intently to their questions and then answered them. St. Patrick’s held the “town hall” meeting to spark a dialogue with parishioners, as it looks to find new ways to make the dy-namic faith community stronger. The panel answered questions from parishioners that covered a variety of topics on finances, litur-gy, faith formation, the parish school and facilities. As a follow up, St. Patrick’s has been printing a question and answer each week in its bulletin and on its website, www.st-pats.org, to educate all parishioners, said its pastor and one of the panelists, Father Robert Mitchell. “The dialogue throughout the evening was good as those in at-tendance provided a range of views on the topics that were dis-cussed, as one would expect in a S t. Patrick’s Parish starts to publish questions, answers about life in faith community ‘TOWN HALL’ on 6

Holy Spirit’s Role In The Church Examined

Michael Wojcik

MADISON Through prayer and humility, Catholics can harness the power of the Holy Spirit, which can grant us the gifts and talents that we need to bring us into the right relationship with God and encourage and sustain us through the Church: the body of Christ. Most importantly, the Spirit can give us the power to carry out Christ’s command to his followers: to evangelize — speaking on his behalf by proclaiming the Gospel message, engaging in justice advocacy and extending compassion to people who are suffering.

So declared Allan Wright, academic dean of St. Paul Inside the Walls here, during a presentation about the Holy Spirit’s role in evangelization, which he delivered twice late last year at the diocesan evangelization center. The Scripture scholar examined passages in the Old Testament and New Testament — especially Luke and Acts — to explore how the Holy Spirit empowered Jesus, the Blessed Mother, the disciples and others in the Bible to evangelize more than 2,000 years ago — the same power that the Spirit longs to give us today.

“Any person, who seeks this power should remember that it is, generally speaking, not some inwardly focused, selfish, mystic experience. The Holy Spirit is little interested in making you feel good. Instead, He is greatly committed to making you effective in your witness,” said Wright, who then noted that, most of the time in the Gospel of Luke, the Spirit comes down on a person to empower him or her to speak, as opposed to perform some other ministry or task. “In Luke, people most clearly demonstrate that they are Spirit filled by preaching, teaching and sharing the faith. The Spirit gives people the power to witness through action and the Word,” he said.

The Gospel of Luke shows the Holy Spirit empowering people, among them John the Baptist to prepare the way of Jesus; the Blessed Mother to say “yes” to God at the Annunciation; Jesus to being able to withstand temptation, preach and speak with joy; and the Apostles to evangelize the Word and speak in tongues. In several passages in Luke and Acts, Luke emphasizes that we can receive the gifts of the Spirit through prayer. In Luke 11:13, the writer instructs, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, who much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him,” Wright said.

“In Luke and Acts, the Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force connected with God. While Trinitarian, He has his own personality and identity. In the Old Testament, the Spirit comes upon elite leaders with few exceptions. But now He is freely given of every member of the Church. Jews and Gentiles have access to God,” Wright said. “Also, the Spirit does what He wants when He wants, where He wants and how He wants,” he said.

As part of the Holy Spirit’s role in helping us carry out the mission of evangelization, He empowers God’s people for service, as demonstrated in Acts 1:8. There Jesus instructs his disciples before his Ascension into heaven, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the Earth.” This instruction stands on the shoulders of the paradigm that was already established in Luke 1:35. There, the Angel Gabriel tells Mary at the Annunciation: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God,” Wright said.

By re-examining the role of the Holy Spirit in the Gospels, Catholics can learn more about the nature of the Spirit as they carry out the directives of the Assembly for the Synod on the New Evangelization. “We need not invent new strategies as if the Gospel were a product to be placed in the market of religions. We need to rediscover the ways in which Jesus approached person and called them, in order to put them into practice in today’s circumstances,” Wright said. “We need to position ourselves where we need the power of the Holy Spirit to carry out Christ’s mission through the Church and not rely solely on our natural gifts and abilities which is counter intuitive. Those who think they can plan everything to a ‘T’ don’t allow themselves to be surprised by the movement of the Holy Spirit.”

Read the full article at http://www.evergreeneditions.com/article/Holy+Spirit%E2%80%99s+Role+In+The+Church+Examined/1902521/241472/article.html.

‘Town Hall’ Meeting Sparks Dialogue At Chatham Parish

Michael Wojcik

CHATHAM Many of the 55 parishioners of St. Patrick’s here, who gathered one evening last fall for a “town hall” meeting in the Father Edward Hinds Center, came ready with their questions, concerns and comments about the life of the Morris County faith community — from the theological, such as “How does music get chosen for Mass?” to the pastoral, such as “Why isn’t the church more handicapped accessible?” A panel of seven made up of clergy, staff members and fellow parishioners of St. Patrick’s listened intently to their questions and then answered them.

St. Patrick’s held the “town hall” meeting to spark a dialogue with parishioners, as it looks to find new ways to make the dynamic faith community stronger. The panel answered questions from parishioners that covered a variety of topics on finances, liturgy, faith formation, the parish school and facilities. As a follow up, St. Patrick’s has been printing a question and answer each week in its bulletin and on its website, www.st-pats.org, to educate all parishioners, said its pastor and one of the panelists, Father Robert Mitchell.

“The dialogue throughout the evening was good as those in attendance provided a range of views on the topics that were discussed, as one would expect in a vibrant faith community. A quick review of the night led me to believe that it was a success in that people had the ability to render honest discussion on issues and questions that were pertinent to their presence in the parish. There was also great respect from all whenever opposing viewpoints came forth from those attending the meeting as well as from any individual on the panel,” Father Mitchell wrote in the bulletin, before telling The Beacon, “It’s good that, as we go into the New Year, we at St. Patrick’s see that we are serving the people.”

The meeting opened with a prayer and a brief welcome by Father Mitchell, followed by brief opening statements by the other panelists. They were: Father Christopher Barkhausen, St. Patrick’s parochial vicar, who spoke on liturgy; Vonnie Gibbons, part-time administrative assistant and part-time faith formation, who spoke about religious education; Mary Donohue, principal of St. Patrick School; John Reichard from the finance council; Barb Cappucci, who spoke about social outreach; and Karen Wittmer, who represented the pastoral council. Moderating the meeting was Kevin Quinn, co-president of the pastoral council.

“In the opening statements of the panelists, each person addressed many of the questions and comments received in advance. The hope was that these opening statements would enable the panel to incorporate responses into their comments that pertained to particular questions submitted beforehand and limit the evening to a 90- minute session,” said Father Mitchell.

Parishioners asked a broad range of questions and raised many concerns. They included, “St. Patrick’s should have more outreaches to divorced people”; “Why does the length of Masses vary, depending on the celebrant and Mass time?” [see related story for answer]; “We should investigate the possibility of using solar panels”; and “Does Father Mitchell review the homilies of deacons and visiting priests?” After the meeting, Gibbons said she that she was encouraged that “parishioners were passionate about and love the way we do liturgy at St. Patrick’s — that Father Bob, Father Chris and visiting priests give them more time to reflect.”

“The ‘town hall’ meeting was great. We have a better handle on the pulse of the parish. It’s good to know if we are doing what we are supposed to be doing: strengthen people’s Catholic identity, welcome them and give them comfort,” Gibbons said. “Also, people are more comfortable coming to us and talking about their concerns.”

St. Patrick’s already has posted the opening statements of each panelist on the website and, over the a period of three to four months, plans to publish a question and answer each week in the bulletin and on the website. After the parish completes the series, the website will contain the complete list of questions and responses, Father Mitchell said.

One St. Patrick’s parishioner, who attended the meeting, was Michael Brough, who has been involved in music ministry and sat previously on the pastoral council. He said that most of the questions posed that night did not surprise him, except for one by a woman, who suggested that that parish offer more outreach to divorced Catholics.

“Divorced Catholics feel that they are not given the pastoral care that they deserve. We as a parish should be asking how we can reach out to them. We can say that we are a welcoming parish, but when someone asks [about ministry to divorced Catholics], we should be doing more,” said Brough, noting that Father Mitchell is continuing the tradition of holding “town hall” meetings, carried on by past St. Patrick’s pastors. “The meeting was a good opportunity to ask questions, make suggestions, learn about what’s going on at the parish and see how the community is doing.”

Q&A: St. Patrick’s ‘town hall’ meeting

Q The length of the Mass tends to vary among celebrants and Mass times, even at other parishes. Why?

A many questions and comments received about liturgy pertained to the length of time it took to celebrate Mass. Parishioners expressed a variety of perspectives. Some questions pertained to particular prayers being recited too quickly, while others wished that Sunday Mass could be 30 minutes or less due to other commitments. Others were joyful with the blend of music, reflection and pace of Sunday liturgies. Each priest attempts to do his best to celebrate liturgy reverently. Our Sunday 7:30 a.m. is less festive in that little music is incorporated into the Mass, while four different choirs provide music at the other weekend Masses. Sometimes Baptisms and first Holy Communions are added to a Sunday liturgy to make the community aware that sacramental celebrations are part of the community and not private celebrations. The important factor is to keep the Mass flowing, yet there is also a need for silent, quiet time throughout the Mass for reflection. We live in an age whereby people want things to move fast; therefore, sometimes it gets forgotten that every Sunday is a homecoming of family with community that transpires through weekend liturgies. Although our calendars are packed with countless activities that make up part of a day, the belief that a weekend Mass that leads to a 50- or 55-minute celebration, adds much spirit to the richness of our lives rather than seeing our presence at Mass as the fulfillment of a Catholic obligation.

Read the full article at http://www.evergreeneditions.com/article/%E2%80%98Town+Hall%E2%80%99+Meeting+Sparks+Dialogue+At+Chatham+Parish/1902522/241472/article.html.

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