Thursday, May 22, 2014

Answer the call to holiness

By Bishop Gerald Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino

The following are excerpts from  Bishop Gerald Barnes' message to the youth receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation this year.

When you were baptized your parents or your god parents got to choose your name. At confirmation you get to choose your own name. There should be a reason why you have chosen that name.

Over a year ago we received a new pope. His name was Jorge, but he chose the name Francis. When you read what the Pope has said, listen to what he is saying and see some of the things he is doing, you are going to see something of St. Francis of Assisi in him. He is very much influenced by St. Francis.

We chose the name of a saint, because there is something we admire about them. We are not going to be like them. We are who we are. We are not going to be a Veronica or a Matthew, but we can learn from them to be the best that we can be. We chose their name because there is something about them that speaks to us.

Now saints come from all walks of life. Some came from wealthy families and some came from very poor families. Some were old and some were young, even teenagers. They had different backgrounds, some being doctors, lawyers, religious, priests, etc. Something happened in their lives that made them become saints. These people we call saints received the gifts of the Holy Spirit and did something with those gifts. They used the gifts to be courageous, to stand up for what is right, to be generous, to pass on the faith, to fight for their people. They did something with those gifts.

Confirmation at St. Edward, Corona
At confirmation, you get the same gifts that they got. They didn’t get more and you are not getting less. You get the same gifts that these men and women did. Why? Because you are meant to be saints! You are meant to be holy. God made you to be holy and to be the saints of today and tomorrow.

In order to do that, God is giving you the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The question is: What are you going to do with them?

Unfortunately some who are confirmed think they are finished, as if it is a graduation. They think they don’t have to learn anymore. They stay with the faith of a teenager. They don’t grow. Some people think that just because they are confirmed they don’t have to go to church anymore. That is what some people think.

That is not how it should be.

You are called to be saints. So what will you do? You have examples in the saints. Everyone who is baptized is called to mission, to ministry, to live their faith. Some baptized are called to special ministries like serving as a catechist, visiting the imprisoned, reaching out to the poor or servings as a religious or priest. No one can force you. You have to want it.

I pray that you who are confirmed continue on your walk of faith. Do not let it end at Confirmation, but let our faith be a part of you every day and at every event of your life. Amen.

Responde la llamada a la santidad

Confirmación en San Eduardo, Corona
Por Obispo Gerald Barnes
Diócesis de San Bernardino

Cuando fuiste bautizado tus padres o padrinos eligieron tu nombre. En la confirmación tú podrás elegir tu propio nombre. Debería haber una razón por la que elegiste ese nombre.

Hace más de un año recibimos un nuevo Papa. Su nombre era Jorge, pero eligió el nombre de Francisco. Cuando lees lo que ha dicho el Papa, escuchas lo que esta diciendo y vez algunas de las cosas que está haciendo, veras algo de San Francisco de Asís en él. Él está muy influenciado por San Francisco.

Elegimos el nombre de un santo, porque hay algo que admiramos en ellos. No vamos a ser como ellos. Somos quien somos. No vamos a ser Veronica o Mateo, pero podemos aprender de ellos para llegar a ser lo mejor que podamos. Elegimos su nombre porque hay algo en ellos que nos llama la atención.

Los santos proceden de todas las clases sociales. Algunos nacieron en familias ricas y algunos en familias muy pobres. Algunos eran viejos y otros jóvenes, incluso adolescentes. Tenían diferentes profesiones, algunos eran médicos, abogados, religiosos, sacerdotes, etc. Algo pasó en sus vidas que hiso que se conviertan en santos. Estas personas que llamamos santos recibieron los dones del Espíritu Santo e hicieron algo con esos dones. Los utilizaron para ser valientes, y hacer el bien, fueron generosos en transmitir la fe y lucharon por su pueblo.

En la confirmación, vas a recibir los mismos dones que ellos recibieron. No recibieron más y tú no recibirás menos. Recibirás los mismos dones que esos hombres y mujeres recibieron. ¿Por qué? Porque estás destinado a ser santo/a! Dios nos hizo para que seamos los santos de hoy y de mañana.

Con el fin de hacer esto, Dios te está dando los dones del Espíritu Santo. La pregunta es: ¿Qué vas a hacer con ellos?

Desafortunadamente algunos de los que son confirmados piensan que ya han terminado, como si fuera una graduación. Ellos piensan que ya no tienen que aprender. Se quedan con la fe de un adolescente. No crecen. Algunas personas piensan que el hecho de que se confirmen significa que ya no tienen que ir a la iglesia. Eso es lo que algunas personas piensan.

Esto no debe ser así.

Todos ustedes están llamados a ser santos. Entonces, ¿qué vas a hacer? Tienen ejemplos en los santos. Todos los bautizados son llamados a la misión, al ministerio, a vivir su fe. Algunos bautizados están llamados a ministerios especiales como catequista, visitar a los presos, ayudar a los pobres o sirviendo como religioso/a o sacerdote. Nadie te puede obligar. Tienes tú que desearlo.

Ruego para que ustedes que están confirmados continúen en su camino de fe. No dejen que su crecimiento se termine con la Confirmación. Dejen que su fe sea parte de ustedes todos los días y en todos los eventos de su vida. Amén.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Easter and the New Evangelization

By Ted Furlow, Director
Diocesan Office of Planning

Easter Sunday has always been my favorite, He is risen! It doesn’t get much better.

I can remember them as a young boy, as an altar server, as a young dad, and now as a grandfather. My Easter Sundays have been cold, rainy, and impossibly hot, with the only constant being that they are always “crowded”. On Easter, my Mom was a “pop out of the pew and get to the altar early” kind of gal, always worried that they might run out of hosts due to the overload of strangers.

This Easter was no exception, my church was packed like the 91 on a Friday afternoon, and I was lucky to receive a half a host from a rapidly emptying ciborium. But it was great to see a full church for a change, and despite the jostling in the pews, working around people unsure whether to stand or kneel, and not getting to sit in our “usual spot”, it was good to see new faces. The pews were packed with relatives, friends, and out-of-towners.

Most important, were the CEO Catholics – you know, Christmas and Easter Only. Important, because they are who Pope Francis is calling us to evangelize, to reach out for, and to renew as part of our community. In Evangelii Gaudium, Francis repeatedly refers to the “others”, and our duty to respond to them. These occasional Catholics are a ready example of the target of that evangelization; they are the “others”.

Both the New Evangelization of Francis and the mission of our Diocese call us to proclaim gospel values so that people’s lives may be filled with Hope. On Easter I had a single mom and her darling daughter, perhaps a six year old, sitting in front of us. There were the telltale signs that Sunday Mass was not a regular part of their agenda – the uncertainty of what to do next, the visible curiosity of the little girl about the liturgy, and unfamiliarity with the worship guide.

We have Little Church for the kids on Sunday’s, and the girl was encouraged by her Mom to go with the others. She returned wearing both a wide ribbon banner with “Alleluia” letters glued to it, and a huge smile. It was clear that her Easter experience of God had been a success.

At the kiss of peace, we engaged both the Mom and the girl in conversation, introducing ourselves, welcoming them to our church, commenting on the girl’s enthusiasm, and just trying to be a friendly face in what appeared to be an unfamiliar setting. We continued our conversation at the end of mass and out into the parking lot where we thanked them for coming and hoped that we would see them again.

For Catholics, a bit out of touch on this evangelization thing, there is bound to be a question of how to begin. While theologians and catechist drone on about formation and methodologies, let me offer my thought.

It starts with a smile and saying “hello”.