St. Bernard Parish
547 Elm Street
Rockport, IN 47635

From the Pastor’s Desk: A Year of Faith

That We May Show Christ’s Love, and The World Might Have Hope

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!  Indeed, it is because of Jesus Christ and for Jesus Christ that we exist as parishes of Faith.  We do not exist for our own sakes.  We do not educate, build, and maintain simply to pass the time.  It is all for something: union with God forever in heaven.

As you may or may not have heard, His Holiness Benedict XVI has declared this next year to be a Year of Faith throughout the Universal Church.  This year officially begins today, October 11th, 2012, and will conclude on the Feast of Christ the King, November 24th, 2013.  The opening date is significant.  It marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Both of these events have everything to do with the so-called “New Evangelization.”  What is this precisely?  Quite simply, it is bringing Christ to places and people that used to know Him, but no longer do.  Older parishioners may vividly recall talk about foreign missions to Africa, Latin America, Asia, etc.  The reality today is that the mission fields are not thousands of miles away.  They are only blocks or even feet away: our own homes and neighborhoods.

We live in a society that has largely forgotten Jesus Christ.  But Christ is precisely what our world needs now more than ever!  As I’ve said, we often try to fill the God-shaped hole in us with the things and pleasures of the world.  There is only one problem with this: IT DOESN’T WORK!!  Only God can fill that hole.  To quote St. Augustine, “Our hearts are restless, Lord, until they rest in You.”  Truer words could not be spoken.  The sad reality is that this restlessness is often dealt with in the wrong ways.  When we seek other things before God (sin), the result is chaos and pain.  We see this today in the explosion of addictions to alcohol, drugs, and sex.  We see it in domestic abuse, broken homes, shattered marriages and poverty.  We see it in the evils of abortion and euthanasia, and the horror of war, to name just a few.

Why do all these evils come about, and why have they grown so dramatically in recent years?  The answer is simple: we have forgotten about God and our need for Him.  In fact, in many ways, we as a culture have tried to actively push Him out of our public life.  And when we do that, we fail to respect ourselves and our fellow human beings.  Why?  Because we are created in His very image and likeness, and if we can’t show respect and reverence for the Creator, there is no way in the world that we can truly respect humanity.

So what are we as Catholics to do in a world that appears to have gone crazy?  The answer is equally simple: we are called to plug back in with God!  That is the purpose of the Year of Faith.  It is not simply to give the coming year a cute slogan.  It is to get us back on track as a human race!  Our Faith is not a part of our lives here.  It is the foundation for our life here, and our doorway to the next life!

Over these next several months, our parishes will be offering several educational opportunities to increase your knowledge, and hopefully your love, of the Catholic Faith.  To be blunt, if we do not all try to take advantage of these opportunities to grow in our faith and love of the Church, we all lose.  Think of yourselves, your families, and all the people you could touch through your living and loving your Faith more deeply and passionately.  If we embrace our Faith in this Year of Faith, we are doing our part to bring the light and the joy of Christ not only to our own souls, but to the world around us as well.

As I begin this year as your official pastor, I pledge to renew my dedication to you in service, especially in the handing on of this pearl of great price: our Catholic Faith.  Please join with me in learning it, loving it, and living it, and sharing it with the world!

In the Love of Christ,

Fr. Chris Forler

St. Bernard Parish • 547 Elm Street • Rockport, IN 47635 • 812-649-4811
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