Thursday, November 19, 2015

St. Augustine Church Offers Parishioners Free Access to Symbolon

Blog by Paulina Rios

St. Augustine Church is taking a step toward the modern world by providing parishioners access to the unofficial Catholic Netflix.  
This “Catholic Netflix” is actually a website called formed.org, where members and guests of St. Augustine Church can enjoy free access to Symbolon, an online program that explains the Catechism of the Catholic Church in videos.
Vincent Herzog, coordinator of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and Adult Confirmation Preparation Program, said Symbolon is a well-produced program that presents information in an objective manner.
Parishioners in RCIA or Adult Confirmation Preparation classes can use Symbolon to supplement their learning experience.
Isabella Trujillo, a UF marketing major, said Symbolon has helped her spiritually.
“Symbolon has taught me how to pray more peacefully and get closer to God,” Trujillo said.
Isabella Trujillo, 19, watches Symbolon in the Marston Science Library to prepare for the Adult Confirmation Preparation Program. Trujillo said Symbolon is entertaining because it appeals to both visual and auditory learners. Photo by Paulina Rios


Symbolon is divided into two categories. Part one is called “Knowing the Faith,” and it explores the creed.
“Imagine the creed like a drop-down menu on a website and each episode clicks on the line of the creed and expands it,” Herzog said.
Part two is called “Living the Faith,” and it is an exploration of how Catholics live.
“It is the sacramental life, life of service in the home and service in the community,” Vincent said.
Symbolon also provides a participant guide, which includes prayers, discussions, reflection questions, and links to related content.
Caitlin Moriarty, a UF biology major, said Symbolon serves as a good review for content she learned in high school.
“It’s always good to have the opportunity to brush up on Catholic teachings,” Moriarty said.
Herzog said Symbolon is dynamic and helpful for participants who find it difficult to keep up with the readings of the Catechism.
“One of the great things about audio and visual media is that it draws in the imagination, which is a very important faculty for learning,” Herzog said.
Symbolon features well-known teachers such as Jim Beckman, Tim Gray, and Edward Sri, who present the information in many different ways every few minutes.
Herzog said one moment you might be listening to a person giving a presentation with visuals in the background, and the next moment you are listening to a conversation between two people.
Herzog said Symbolon allows people to see and hear the beauty of the Church.
“It’s exciting how creative people can get in evangelizing and spreading the Gospel,” Herzog said.
St. Augustine Church has access to Symbolon for one year, and it can choose to renew the program once the year is over.
“We’d like to renew the program, but it depends on how willing the community is to support it,” Vincent said.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Thanks for a Great Summer St. A's!

Blog by Alex Sanchez
 

Picture by Michelle Habib
In case we didn't get a chance to meet this summer, my name is Alex Sanchez and I'm a seminarian for the Diocese for St. Augustine, FL. This summer, I was assigned to live in residence at St. Augustine's parish and to work at the Catholic Charities in Gainesville for eight weeks. For me personally, every summer assignment is an opportunity to build memories. It is these memories which I take with me back to seminary and reflect on as I discern my call to the priesthood. I must say as I reflect on them now back home that it has been an awesome summer and I can see how the Lord has affirmed my call.


 Picture by Joseph John Thalakkottor
This community has truly inspired me deeply by your amazing witness of living the Faith in a modern and secular world. This summer we saw many things happen in our nation, but I was impressed by how you, the students and the other family members of the parish, show love and full support to the teachings of Holy Mother Church. I was also impressed by your deep and strong desire to grow closer to our Lord through prayer and participation in the Liturgy. Basically I was impressed by how much you all love being Catholic!  I once saw an interview with Cardinal Dolan, in which he spoke of his time as a rector in the seminary and explained how much the seminarians impressed him with their desire to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament, exposed every day. He said in the end of the interview that if they were going to pray an hour everyday, then he would pray two hours a day with them, because he was their shepherd and their father needing therefore to set the example and model of prayer. Being at St. A’s, I have been challenged by you all to fall more in love with the Church, more in love with our Blessed Mother, and more in love with our Lord in the precious gift of the Eucharist. Why? Because I truly believe God is calling me to be a priest and I want to be a good priest for His holy people.



I ask that you please pray for me as I return for my final year of seminary formation at St. John Vianney College Seminary, where I have spent three years studying philosophy. Again, thank you St. A’s for this wonderful summer! I had an awesome time getting to know many of you this summer. In a special way, I want to thank the priests of the parish who showed me an excellent priestly witness and gave great fraternal support to me. Please know that you are all in my prayers. God bless you all!


Praise be Jesus Christ, now and forever!
Alex Sanchez


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Finding Freedom in Jesus

Blog by Michelle Habib

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel for He has come to His people to set them free” Lk 1:68. In a culture centered around a misunderstanding of freedom—doing what we want, when we want, and how we want—how is it that we, as believers in Christ, assert that Jesus is the source and founder of our freedom when, like the possessed man in the temple, many people today cry out to God and say “Let us alone! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?” Mk 1:24.  God can be identified more as this being who would come to destroy freedoms, hammering impossible regulations through strict institutions rather than seen as the loving but fierce shepherd who tends and guides His flock. This perspective is harmful in that it promotes a rebellious attitude towards the Lord, ultimately losing where true freedom is found—in the will of God.
Before we go further, first lets look at the definition of freedom. Interestingly enough, two definitions displayed while googling the word “freedom" are 1. the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint and 2. the state of not being enslaved or imprisoned. As Catholic Christians that understand human nature is afflicted by sin, a contradiction between these two definitions arises. How often do we become enslaved by our free actions, imprisoned by our free thoughts, or tormented by harsh or false words uttered freely towards another? How can both of these definitions be completely true?
Ultimately, how are we able to live freely and abundantly without acquiring the chains of bondage? The only way these two definitions can be reconciled to make sense is if they incorporate the person of Jesus Christ and His Church which He appointed as protector and guide for the human race. One of my favorite images to explain how the Church is actually a supporter of freedom rather than a vampire sucking out freedom pleasures is explained by G. K. Chesterton in his book, Orthodoxy. He explains, “Catholic doctrine and discipline may be walls; but they are walls of a playground. Christianity is the only frame which has preserved the pleasure of paganism. We might fancy some children playing on the flat, grassy top of some tall island in the sea. So long as there was a wall round the cliff’s edge, they could fling themselves into every frantic game and make the place the noisiest of nurseries.” The walls symbolize Mother Church as guardian and guide, for without her walls, the children would be forced to play, in fear, towards the center of that island and could not be free to roam around the borders.
Within this image is another opponent to true freedom: fear. Notice, those children without the wall (the Church) cannot skip and dance along the edges because they are afraid…as they should be. Fear can be paralyzing. It can be irrational—projected onto us from the media, people around us, or from the enemy. It can pin you down, discourage you, and preoccupy your thoughts away from the light of this world and onto the darkness. Even more, it is not always noticed as an obvious inducer of a complacent lifestyle.
Try praying the Litany of Humility sometime…you’ll quickly see how many fears about reputation or injury can plague the mind. I remember one time last summer, I was invited to go swing dancing with a new friend I had met. I hadn’t swing danced since the 4th grade in the school gym and was overly conscious that I would look dumb or sit alone for the night once my friends realized what a horrible dancer I was. I initially declined his invitation and spent the whole day battling my fears and doubts, but ultimately, I chose to go because the only reason I discovered I didn’t want to go in the first place was because I was afraid I would look dumb or get hurt.
I went, I had an incredible time, and driving home, I thought about how my fear could have kept me from experiencing that night. Small event, but isn’t your life made up of a series of seemingly small events? Seemingly small, but in reality, “each of us at each moment is progressing…into a creature that is in harmony with God, with other creatures, with itself or else, into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself” C.S. Lewis. Now, choosing whether to go dance or not doesn’t appear so consequential in guiding me towards Heaven or Hell but I will say that the joy I experienced in saying, “Ok, I’ll try”  to the unknown versus taking the safe route, reading my book in bed is incomparable. With Jesus, we do not need to fear for He is with us until the end of the age. And not only has He given Himself to us, but He has also given us His Immaculate Mother, the Communion of Saints, a guardian angel, and the sacraments.
True freedom is present only in Jesus Christ—the One Who formed you, Who guides you, and Who spilled His Precious Blood so that you could be freed from the chains of sin.

“Follow Jesus Christ who is the source of freedom and light. Be open to the Lord so that He may lighten all your ways.” Saint John Paul II

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Peter and Paul

Blog by Jennifer Ely

            In this month of June, we celebrate the Solemnity of two great titans of the Catholic Church: Peter and Paul, men immortalized by their fearlessness and fortitude for the sake of their beloved Church - for the sake of our beloved Church. Paul’s part was to go out to all the nations, to bring Gentiles and Jews and all people alike to Christ.  He is known to have written a large portion of the New Testament. His words of exhortation for the Faith drive us still today. Peter was to be the first Vicar of Christ here on Earth, the Rock of the Church, against which the gates of Hell would never prevail.
            So why do we celebrate these saints of Heaven on the same day? Surely they each deserve a day all to themselves! But Mother Church always has a plan for such things. We celebrate these great men together because of what they were for the Church: warriors of faith, champions of Christ, humble servants of their Lord united with His Will.
            This pairing is also a sign to us as Catholics. This day that we celebrate is one that should challenge us, should spur us forth to be more like Peter and Paul. We must step forward into the light of day and proclaim exactly what we are, and exactly what we believe. There is no way of changing this world for the better without Truth, and these men knew that, and taught us how to do it.
Saint Paul arrested,
 early 1900s Bible illustration
            We need St. Pauls out there, bringing in new and fresh hearts to Jesus constantly. We need a passion and fervency when we declare Christ as Lord of all. We need strength, valor, and solidity in our proclamation of the Kingdom of God. The words of Paul do not endure to this day simply because of their beauty, or because of his fervor alone; they endure because they are true, and Paul, in his deep humility, knew himself to be the conduit of that Truth. He knew all that the Lord asked of him was necessary, from his trips across the sea to unknown lands, to his multiple imprisonments. He knew his life was Christ’s, even in his last moments when the blade of a sword took it. All he had was given up for Christ, willingly, because he knew that the plans of the Lord were far greater than any he might try to conceive.
            There are many missionary organizations that operate with that same desire that Paul had, to set the world on fire for Christ. Programs like this need brave Catholics to step up and acknowledge their faith, and they also need the prayers of their fellow Christians. For nothing in our Church has ever been accomplished by the work of just one of us.
St. Peter Preaching the Gospel in the Catacombs by Jan Styka
           And while these missionary programs that take our people out into the world are so very necessary, we also need St. Peters. Peter was the first pope, yes, but in a time when that title was a death sentence from the world. Yet still he remained—shepherd of the flock of Christ, defender of the Church—and stood as both beacon of hope and rallying point for the Church’s knowledge, faith, and works. His was a task of great endurance, and one that, two thousand years later, we can still see the fruits of. His love for Christ was so great that he forfeited his life, and his understanding of what Jesus did on the Cross was so great that he would not allow himself to be killed in the way of Christ, choosing instead to die crucified upside-down. We need to be rocks of faith, building stones of the Church, standing firm on the solid foundation of the apostles' knowledge of Christ. We must untiringly seek out every last iota of our great Faith, and then share that information with those Catholics who may be tired, or jaded, or may misunderstand Mother Church. We cannot forgo the old Catholics, the cradle-Catholics, or the cafeteria-Catholics.
            How do we do this? How do we become like Peter or Paul? We strive. We go out, be we full time missionaries or missionaries within the work force, and we do not let this world dim the light of Christ in us. We don't go to Mass and sit, lemming-like, in the congregation without realizing what grace is happening before our eyes. We proclaim in both word and deed the love of God without compromising the Truth. We find the answers to the questions we have instead of thinking they're unimportant or foolish or, God forbid, that we know better than the Church or Christ. We learn about what it is that makes up our Faith, the one that we speak of in the Nicene Creed we recite every week.
            Yes, it's going to be hard, and complex, and take up time that you would normally use for other things. There is no denying that. But we are followers of Christ. It is branded on our souls that we are His, as He made Himself ours. That love can drive us to do things beyond our imagining, if only we allow the Lord to guide our way.


“I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world.” –John 16:33

The Holy Spirit and Pentecost: A Direct Line to Our Hearts

Blog by Tonia Borsellino

God often answers our quietest prayers first. He answers the prayers we briefly mention in the pews of His church - the prayers we think no one cares about, no one hears, or no one is willing to help us with.

When those prayers are answered, we are cut to the heart because we know they couldn’t have been answered by anyone else but Him.

“He plumbs the depths and penetrates the heart; their innermost being he understands. He makes known the past and the future, and reveals the deepest secrets.” Sirach 42: 18-19

For God to hear the prayers in the depths of our hearts, it means that even today, He is with us. God’s abundant love for us doesn’t allow Him to exist in just one moment in time. He is with us every second of the day. In moments where we feel like the world is ours to conquer, or when we feel like giving up and all hope is lost.

He comes to us in the sacraments and through the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that came at Pentecost. 

“Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” Acts 2:3-4

The Holy Spirit is living proof of God’s love for us. He is God, speaking directly to our hearts. Through the gifts of the Spirit, including visions, tongues, or prophecy, the Holy Spirit always finds a way to speak to our innermost desires.

Pentecost” by Jean Restout II, 1732.
Just like Peter said, the men at Pentecost weren’t drunk. It was too early in the morning for alcohol to play a factor in the way these men were acting. The only explanation for what was happening was God.

These men were given the gifts of the Holy Spirit to prophesy and proclaim the word of God, in the present moment, for all to know the love of Christ.

And the Holy Spirit doesn’t just touch the hearts of those who receive the gifts. He reaches everyone.

“They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, 'Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.'” Acts 2:7-8

The gifts confirm that what is being said or done is from God, by the Holy Spirit working in each person.

Peter explained at Pentecost that to receive the Holy Spirit, we must make our conscience clean with God through Reconciliation after we have been baptized. Those simple acts will open our hearts to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives and the sacred heart of God.

Sometimes God may feel far away and only present in moments of the Church’s historical beginnings like at Pentecost. But the same Holy Spirit that was there is in each and every person’s heart, waiting to be called on and to unite us with the One who gave His heart for all. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Solitary Path of Holiness

Blog by Thomas Myers

In the seminary, just like at St. Augustine’s Church, there is a rhythm of life. One of the most beautiful, edifying and fruitful aspects of this ‘rhythm of life’ is that in our daily schedule, everything revolves around a routine—those times when we gather as a community and pray together. Some examples that come to mind are the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, common Rosaries and/or Divine Mercy Chaplets and communal Holy Hours. 
 
Photo by Tonia Borsellino

The reality is that I (as a seminarian) and you (as Catholic Gators) have a lot in common. Just like you, I will be reaching the conclusion of another academic school year in May. As such, both of us – you and I – will be faced with a difficult but necessary reality. 

As we enter the summer months, thereby leaving our school communities and places of study behind, we will also be leaving our spiritual homes behind - the very spiritual homes that we have grown to be so comfortable with and accustomed to. For me, my spiritual home is the seminary, while for you, your spiritual home is St. Augustine’s Church. In both of our cases, leaving our spiritual homes also means leaving the very structure that has been given to us and has likewise helped us so much in our efforts to grow in our faith and spiritual lives. It also means leaving the very structure which offers us spiritual stability, support and security. 

In reality, while much good comes from the ‘structure’ or ‘rhythm of life’ that our spiritual homes provide for us, it is also true that the spiritual task of growing up and maturing doesn’t always happen within the spiritual home. We all have to leave our spiritual homes from time to time, and during these times (such as the upcoming summer months ahead), each of us must accomplish spiritual growth and maturity individually and for ourselves. 

Photo by Breno Machado
At its core, spiritual maturity is not a social affair. Instead, it is most fundamentally a solitary one. More to the point, the spiritual task of growing up in our faith is something that no one can do for us; we can only do it on our own and for ourselves. In fact, no one ever came to a true, deep, mature and personal faith by giving in to the peer pressure that comes with the spiritual crutches which spiritual communities and spiritual homes can sometimes be. Instead, it is in those deep places of silence and solitude where each of us, being alone with God, individually (in our hearts, minds and souls), makes our own choices and decides to work out (and live) our own faith. 

We – you and I, both – will be facing this difficult but necessary reality as we struggle in the solitude that will come from being dispersed and away from our spiritual homes during these upcoming summer months. The reason is that when we leave our spiritual homes, we will no longer be given a structure or rhythm of life. Instead, we (with the help of God in our prayerful relationships with Him) have to create such a structure and rhythm of life (and choose to actually live it out) for ourselves. This is not an easy task. Indeed, it requires great effort and much self-discipline! 

Speaking of discipline, it is interesting to note that there is another word that is closely linked and connected to it. In fact, this other word shares ‘discipline’s same Latin root – discipulus – and is derived to form the English word, disciple. I share this with you in order to show that discipleship and discipline are mutually inclusive and come hand-in-hand. Either they come together or they don’t come at all. As such, in order to be good disciples of Christ (even during the summer months), we must choose to be disciplined. In order for this to happen, we must learn from our past summers’ mistakes and plan ahead for the future, before the upcoming summer months come, so that when we are in the midst of them, we can start the implementation process and be successful in our spiritual efforts and goals. 

In order to help with this planning process, below are some practical suggestions. While they are not exhaustive (as so much more can be added), hopefully this short list will serve to be inspiring and helpful to you in your personal planning process:
  1. Go to bed and wake up at the same times every day, planning for 6-8 hours of sleep so that you can wake up in time, rested and ready for morning Mass every day.
  2. Plan to go to daily Mass at your local home parish every day. After daily Mass, individually pray in silence before the Blessed Sacrament for at least 15 minutes. Then, pray the Rosary and/or the Divine Mercy Chaplet before you leave the Church.
  3. Plan to go to Confession every week or every two weeks.
  4. Plan to do 10-15 minutes of spiritual reading every day.
  5. Plan to spend 10-15 minutes reading the daily Mass readings (in the prayerful style of Lectio Divina) in advance before going to bed every night.
  6. Plan to do a 5-10 minute daily examen before going to bed every night.
  7. (In order to help you with prayerfully reading the daily Mass readings and doing the daily examen, here is a link to a document that I created for you: Examination Guide)
  8. Remember that God is always with us, lovingly helping us with His graces and blessings. 
This summer away from our spiritual homes and faith communities is an opportune gift from God to help us (and force us) to individually choose Him and grow in our faith and spiritual lives for ourselves. The question is: will we individually choose to use this gift and opportunity wisely? 


Please pray for me and know that I will also be praying for you…be holy and God bless!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The New Evangelization… of Nearness

Blog by Glen Flores

Photo by Arren Delatorre
A night to forget, a night to remember

A while ago, when Upper Room at St. Augustine was called “Sursum Corda,” I led a discussion about heroic virtue. Before we began, I opened by pointing to a fact of the Christian faith: when we are gathered in Jesus’ name, He promises to be in our midst (Matthew 18:20).

And so we meditated silently on the reality of Jesus in the room, but not as though He was just a nebulous being about us, but knowing His actual person was participating in our evening in a divine way. It was about a minute’s worth of reflection.

Following that, I spoke about heroic virtue and how my fellow Christian friends at Sursum Corda were already living out such virtue. We have a tendency to miss that: we overlook how excelling virtue manifests itself in our Christian brothers and sisters, even if it is not yet at the prompt and consistent level displayed by the saints of our Church. I pointed to the remarkable work done by the FOCUS missionaries to bring spiritual multiplication to the UF campus. I pointed to the desires in the hearts of my friends in Sursum Corda (persons who are now leaders in our parish) for holiness to come in abundance to the parish. And, of course, I pointed to folks in Sursum Corda who serve others in the fields of medicine, justice, and charity, but who have also gone to great lengths to bring Christ to their careers. I wanted people to trust that God was making Saints of them and, by continuing towards greater virtue, they could in fact be canonized one day.

It seemed like a good talk: edifying, encouraging, and hopefully insightful. I was my usual animated self. I received very positive feedback.

A week after the talk, I asked my friend Caroline what she remembered about it. I wasn’t disappointed when she said she didn’t remember much. It makes sense: how many of us can recall details from homilies from even two weeks ago unless we have taken extra time to reflect on them? We learn best through experience, not just musing over possibilities and potentials. So like I said: I wasn’t disappointed.

But Caroline did remember the meditation. The idea of it—the reality of Jesus right there before her, as present and immediate to her as all the other people in the room—stuck with her. Jesus made a lasting impression.

Nothing more than a backdrop

The first section of this short recollection is likely misleading. It’s too easy to say, 
We don’t need that theological stuff. We don’t need to talk about virtue. We just need Jesus.” Doing so, we are left with a reductionist view of Christianity: a Christian minimalism that fails to elaborate on the full Christian mystery that awaits us if we commit our lives to deeper contemplation. Without the drama of the theological insight on heroic virtue, I would have treated only the imagination, emotion, and memory of the persons there. Meanwhile, I would have neglected the will, intellect, intuition, and the many other depths of the human person. I would have sold people short of what they are owed for the fuller formation of their faith.

But then why does God seem to move better when we simply approach Jesus? Why did that brief moment of meditation on “Jesus in the room” make such a more lasting impression? If that’s the case, what is our part?

We are mere participants in Christ’s story for us, and our work is certainly not the focus of His story. That night, among all the discussion, we created a theater—a backdrop—from which God could dwell in His actual presence. From the simple aspects of the night, such as gathering together, cramming ourselves into a small space, opening in prayer, and giving ourselves over to each other’s reflections and ideas, to the headier discussions on virtue and theology, we acted as the setting for the larger drama that God was going to use to help us know His reality among us. The credibility of the idea of Christ-in-the-room rose as we prepared a stage for Him.

So we are the setting, but too much of the setting and we encroach upon the main actor. Too little of the setting and the theater of it all becomes disoriented.

The God who is near

Photo by Arren Delatorre
But this is not a post about prayer. It’s about the New Evangelization. But how? Well, we have to look briefly at another event at the parish: Night Fever.

This week our parish will host yet another “Night Fever,” where we invite those who pass by the front of the Church along the busy University Avenue to light a candle before Christ in the Eucharist. Since the church is located right across from the university, the passers-by are numerous and from all walks of life.

During Night Fever, the church is lit with candles, lining the outside steps and along the pews until they reach to Christ in the monstrance. The lights are dimmed. To the side, people stand in line for confession. The choir offers solemn praise. Dozens of students and parishioners seated in the pews all face this wholly accessible God, who is there in the Real Presence. The doors of the Church are open for all to see the beauty of it. The whole theater or backdrop of it speaks, “True spiritual life!”

The passers-by outside notice and inquire about the event.  They recognize something deep in our American consciousness of what spiritual life ought to look like. They recognize that this backdrop signals the presence of God, even though they may not be Catholic.

Our spiritual life is unmistakable. The way our Church worships the Creator is ingrained in the modern mind, no matter how much modern persons try to shake it off with external distractions. People recognize its beauty.

We offer them God as He is, as He claimed He would be: “This is my Body… Do this in memory of me” (Luke 22:19).  Those who believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist have the ability to offer something many denominations can’t: a first-hand look at God as God intended.

And because we have that Real Presence, we can authentically surround God with the proper theater that reflects His glory. And then God comes through, just like that night at Sursum Corda.

And hundreds of passers-by—many of them inebriated, many intent on partying all night along University Avenue—flood the church throughout the night to spend a moment with Christ Himself. It seems utterly inexplicable to think this would happen in the modern world, but the search for God runs too deep in our blood, and our theater offers a setting for them to have Him. They want to draw near to Him, and we bring that nearness.

And how? Because we became the setting. God was placed forward as the main actor. And, if there is one thing to believe here, it's that if you show people how near they can be to Christ, people will want to be near to Him. He automatically draws people in, just as He did 2000 years ago. That one fact about Jesus will never change. And there can be no greater joy for Him than that nearness.

So of course Christ is successful through Night Fever, through this form of the New Evangelization. He is able to do what He loved doing on earth: He is able to be near to us. It pleases Him more than any other thing, for it is the reason that He came.

It’s the New Evangelization of Nearness to Christ.
Photo by Arren Delatorre

The success that is not ours

Hundreds of people have come to find God in our midst during Night Fever. For those of us who participate, we get to spend intimate time with Jesus. We hear His voice.
And we can almost hear Jesus saying, 
Your efforts are successful because you brought people directly to me. You have put aside your own cleverness and your attempts to convince. You have relied on what I have prepared over the centuries in my Church, and I have made it fruitful.”
We can almost hear Jesus saying, 
Your night flourishes because you trust in the Real Presence. You can speak about me to them, teach them my words and the doctrines of my Church, and serve them, but you trusted in my Presence first. Because of that, I will help you lead them to the fullness of faith that you desire for them.
We can almost hear Jesus saying, 
Bring Me to them. I will honor your efforts to evangelize, but remember that The New Evangelization will not be an event or undertaking. The New Evangelization will always be Me.
Photo by Arren Delatorre



Check out more awesome pictures of Friday Night Fever here.

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