It’s Never too Late … by Don Smith

 CFN– As long as you’re still breathing, it’s never too late to return to God. That was the theme of Pope Benedict XVI’s final public homily on Ash Wednesday in St. Peter’s Basilica. The pontiff spoke of the need for both personal and corporate witness to faith.

PopeAshWedHomily“Living Lent in a more intense and evident ecclesial communion, overcoming individualism and rivalry is a humble and precious sign for those who have distanced themselves from the faith or who are indifferent”.

YOFIn his Apostolic Letter ‘Porta fidei’ Benedict XVI speaks of “the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ.” This Year of Faith coincides with two anniversaries: the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of Vatican Council II and the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Bishop-elect Marcel Damphousse chatting with Cornwall Free News' Don Smith at Cornwall's Nativity Co-Cathedral
Bishop Marcel Damphousse chatting with Cornwall Free News’ Don Smith

This weekend marks the start of a special Year of Faith Lenten Mission conducted by Alexandria-Cornwall’s Bishop Marcel Damphousse. The Universal Church has proclaimed this special season of grace, a time to hear and respond to God’s call to: “Come back to Me with all your heart.” This Mission is one of the events which are offered to help people ponder the question: “Why should a Christian believe?”

The bishop has an approachable style and manner of speaking that is easy to follow. To give our viewers a taste, here is a short video clip recorded during a recent informal gathering. Our clip contains excerpts from a recent fireside chat at which the bishop was speaking on a similar topic, reflecting on Pope Benedict XVI’s letter on the upcoming World Youth Day.

To give us a sense of what it is to experience Bishop Marcel in a more formal, liturgical setting, viewers may enjoy this video clip of the bishop’s Christmas Eve homily.

Catholicism (like other forms of Christianity) – not just a “Sunday Thing”
Often people can be heard saying things such as:  “I was born a Catholic” or “Our family is Catholic; it’s part of our tradition”. Statements like these reflect a close connection between culture and matters of faith. Certainly faith should motivate one to influence the culture, but faith itself has to be much more than just cultural; it has to be personal. Catholicism (like all forms of Christianity) is a way of life that should influence every action and attitude. Each Christian is called to embrace a close, intimate relationship with God and out of that life-changing relationship, reflect God’s love in the world. It doesn’t translate into instant perfection, but a purposeful general orientation towards God and of actively cooperating in the advancement of His Kingdom here on Earth.

Excuses, excuses – what’s yours!
Excuses for avoiding Church and even God – I think that I’ve heard just about all of them.  “That nun or that priest offended me.”  “That person wasn’t very Christ-like.”  “The Church is full of sinners (yes, there’s always room for one more,)”  “God can’t love me because…”  Do these resonate with anyone? But, who is that approach hurting the most? Is it perhaps time to let go of those old excuses?  As Paul tells us in his Letter to the Romans – nothing can separate us from the love of God (c.f. Rom 8:38-39) – nothing except our own decision to reject God’s love. Our loving Father yearns for us to return. Isn’t it time?

Plenary Indulgence for the Year of Faith
Plenary Indulgence for the temporal punishment of sins, imparted by the mercy of God and applicable also to the souls of deceased faithful, may be obtained by all faithful who, truly penitent, take Sacramental Confession and the Eucharist and pray in accordance with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.

(A) Each time they attend at least three sermons during the Holy Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of the Council or the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in church or any other suitable location.

Faithful who, due to illness or other legitimate cause, are unable to leave their place of abode, may still obtain Plenary Indulgence “if, united in spirit and thought with other faithful, and especially at the times when the words of the Supreme Pontiff and diocesan bishops are transmitted by television or radio, they recite … the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and other prayers that concord with the objectives of the Year of Faith, offering up the suffering and discomfort of their lives”.

Other means of obtaining the indulgence can be found here.

General information on indulgences is available here.

The Mission at St. Columban’s Church starts with any weekend Mass:
Saturday February 16 at 7 p.m. &
Sunday February 17 at 7:30 a.m., 9:30 & 11 a.m.

and continues each evening at 7 p.m.
Sunday February 17 – Talk & Resource Exhibit
Monday February 18 – Talk & Resource Exhibit
Tuesday February 19 – Communal Celebration of Reconciliation
Wednesday February 20 – Mass with extended homily & collection for the missioner

Don Smith reports on a variety of topics, notably good news items as well as social justice issues.

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