Fr. Ed was a priest from the Archdiocese of Detroit. He visited St. Paul parish annually to escape the cold weather and my whole family always eagerly awaited his visits! He radiated joy and fun, and when he presided at Mass he reflected God’s Presence, God’s love, and God’s grace. To this day, my sons still remember the “chopstick priest” who referenced utensils during his homily about God’s feast.
We’ll save that story for another time, but I’m deeply grateful that Fr. Ed taught us as a family how to live our faith beyond Sunday. For my husband, that was on the city streets of Phoenix as a police officer. For our children, it was in the classrooms of Saint Simon and Jude and on their baseball fields. For me, it was my work in the parish.
Fr. Ed reminded us that we are known and loved by God, and we are called to share that love with others wherever Christ may call us!
Through our Baptism, we are born into the family of Christ and our relationship with God is lived out in our relationships with each other. The deeper we know God’s love, the more our lives reflect the essence and quality of Jesus, which then attracts others to see and want the same.
This is evangelization!!
And at the heart, it is fostered by our sacramental life, where we are continually reminded of God’s love for us in our brokenness, His strengthening of us in our weakness, and His sending us forth to become a living every day sacrament for others. Evangelization, like our sacramental life, is not a one-time event. Just as we receive the Eucharist weekly, evangelization is a way of life that is sewn into the very fabric of our realities, changing our hearts of stone into hearts that radiate joy, fun, humor, and peace – just like Fr. Ed so often exemplified.
Evangelization and the sacramental life are at the core of who we are as Christians, which is why they are such important initiatives to Bishop John. He continues to focus on expanding and enhancing both within the Diocese of Phoenix.
I invite you to join him in this effort by praying about how God is asking you to live out your sacramental life and your baptismal call to evangelize beyond Sunday. Wherever we are called to live out our faith – whether it be studying at university, making Zoom calls in our cubicle, or caring for our children – may we all continue to seek Christ, knowing in hope that He will continue to change our hearts of stone into hearts of radiant joy.