Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Party, A Punch Bowl and the Future of the Church

Today my next door neighbor celebrated his 90th birthday. Jack, as he is called, is a brilliant man who has travelled the world as a leading engineer. He oversaw captured Nazi submarines after the war, designed bridges, owned a mill and has read almost every book known to man kind. Jack is a real Renaissance man who astounds me with the depths of his knowledge every time we meet. At ninety he has not slowed down a bit, and still spends most of his day cutting down trees, working in his shop and creating things with his hands. Undoubtedly when I roll out of bed tomorrow morning, I will look out the window to see him hard at work.

The neighborhood had a little party for him and most everyone turned out to celebrate with him. Somewhere between the punchbowl and the chocolate cake I got into a wonderful conversation with another neighbor about the future of the Church. As we discussed the challenges the Church has faced with the recent scandals and the changing culture we live in, I began to share with him the story of the Missionary Servants of the Word (photos seen in my last post). As I spoke with him about my brief time with the sisters and the enthusiastic zeal for the Gospel, his eyes began to light up. In a world filled with darkness, he was being reminded of the light. The Missionary Servants of the Word have a simple mission, to evangelize laypeople to evangelize with laypeople. Their entire focus is on evangelizing the world, not a small task. However, after meeting the incredible sisters from the order I am not convinced they will not do it. They are determined to go out and reach the people. So each day they gather with others and go door to door in the streets, inviting people to return to their faith or to discover it for the first time. Their joy is their most powerful weapon as it disarms the most hardened heart. Undeterred by any circumstances they willingly walk into the lion's den to share the Word and love of Christ.

Looking at the world today one cannot help but to see the growing secular trend that mocks all that we hold sacred. As Church attendance drops so does religious identification and the struggle for the future continues. While many priests, religious brothers and sisters and laypeople bemoan the state of faith in the world today, a small courageous group of women marches confidently forward reassured by a strong belief that all things are possible with God. I think too often that many of us, myself included, lose sight of this fact and fail to trust fully in God. It is easy for the cooperate mindset to creep in and for the numbers game to dominate the day. While others worry, the sisters trust. While others mourn the death of faith, the sisters resurrect it one soul at a time. While others wonder where all the people who used to fill the pews went, the sisters go bring them back. The Missionary Servants of the Word embody the missionary zeal that allowed the Catholic faith to reach every corner of the world. I am confident that with their help, a bright day awaits the future of the Church in this country.

Side Note:

In the Missionary Servants of the Word there are currently

95 Sisters (Perpetual vows)
126 Sisters (Temporary vows)
61 Novices
25 Postulants

48 Priests
5 Deacons
125 Seminarians

7 Brothers
33 Novices
42 Postulants .

Website Links!

Spanish Site (Very extensive)

English Site (In the building process-be sure to check out the links page!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

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