If you are a Washington Redskins fan, you have, no doubt, already answered this question! “R You In?” was the rally cry for Redskins training camp and the tag line for season ticket sales. I’m not in with the Redskins but I love the simple and direct nature of the question. It really demands a “yes” or “no.”
Archbishop Wuerl is asking us the same question, in much more poetic language in his pastoral letter Disciples in Mission: Sharing the Vision. While we can opt in or out with the Redskins with very little consequence, opting out of full and active participation in the New Evangelization for those of us who are baptized, does have consequences for us and for the church.
Sharing the vision
Msgr. Pope did a nice job introducing us to the pastoral letter and I plan, from time to time, to share stories about people and parishes who are in– who are giving new definition to what it means to be Catholic Evangelizers.
It begins with the sign of the cross
One of the ideas in the pastoral letter that seems to have hit home is the suggestion to pray grace before meals in public. I was out with a group of colleagues, with whom I had not shared a meal and wondered if they were the types who pray grace in public places. The food came, there was a pause, and then a chuckle and two of us in unison said, “We’re all about the New Evangelization, and we are going to pray.”
At Mass on Sunday, I was chatting with a fellow parishioner and he said, “Susan, a friend read the pastoral letter, and told me that before reading the letter, he would make a small and quick Sign of the Cross before eating in public, now he decided, he would make a real Sign of the Cross.” Another friend wrote, “My husband and I are going to pray grace in restaurants.”
Evangelization really can be this easy and people do notice. At the hotel where we stayed while we were at the Passion Play, we had assigned tables for meals in the hotel restaurant. When we sat down for dinner, there was a woman who was also assigned to our table. She was just about finished when we arrived. She was reading the paper and sipping coffee. We sat down and began with Grace. The next day, we came back to the hotel and were sitting in the coffee bar. She came in and sat down and we started to chat with her. At the end of the conversation, she said, “I just want to say that I thought it was really nice you prayed Grace before you ate, you don’t see that often and not from Catholics.”
Hopefully, as we study and discuss the pastoral letter and our renewed commitment to the New Evangelization we will take advantage of other opportunities to share our love for the Lord and the joy we have found in the Catholic Church. The Sign of the Cross, the public acclamation that we live, and move and have our being in the name of the Father and of the Son and Holy Spirit is a great way to start. Buon apetito!