|On a Faithful Foodie Mission|
Before getting into our Dinner Discussion for this week, we at Grace Before Meals want to extend our heartfelt joy for our new Holy Father, Pope Francis I!
Pope Francis I, We promise to remember you every time we gather around the Lord’s Table, and to keep your intentions in our prayers.
God our Father, Shepherd and Guide, look with love on Pope Francis I Your servant, the pastor of Your Church.
Now, for this week’s Dinner Discussion I would like to share some of my Lenten experiences. It’s been a pretty good Lent for me so far. I’ve been keeping up with most of my Lenten observance, but at the same time, keeping quite busy giving missions and spiritual retreats.
This season has been a fantastic opportunity to share our Grace Before Meals message of faith, food, and family, in different parts of the country through the itinerant preaching of “Parish Missions.” I’m grateful that we are “packing the house,” so to speak, with record crowds from all parts, seeking the message of faith.
Missions are a necessary way to communicate the good news to all parts of the world. While the traditional understanding has been to go to different countries and evangelize people of different religions, many priests are finding it necessary to proactively spread the Christian message to people in our own countries – even in our own parishes or local communities.
While most people in America have heard of Jesus Christ many people do not know him well, evidenced by many surveys that speak about a great misunderstanding of the Church’s role. Church, for many people, is not always a good experience. People are bored, upset about various news stories of their priests or community, or confused about some Church doctrine. They may not feel at home in a certain community or may be at a point of even questioning God.
That’s why parish missions are so important. They provide unique perspectives, different voices, and deeper experiences of prayer, teaching, and community. We are proud to say this happens when people from our parish go out on missions! We give parishes an opportunity to celebrate, pray, laugh, learn, and in some cases even eat some gourmet goodness together!
Giving missions is hard work. Committees have to plan in advance, and preparations must be made in order to make sure that people in parishes are not only aware of the mission, but that they are going to come. At my missions, I tell people to bring family, friends, and even non-Catholics. I don’t want the mission to be me preaching to the “choir” but to people from all walks of life. After all, a “missionary” is someone who is “sent” to all parts to give an invitation to the banquet of the King (Matthew 22:2).
We still have a few weeks of Lent. If you have never been to a parish mission, or if you are in a parish that needs some revival, renewal, and an experience to deepen your faith, I encourage you to speak with your pastor about bringing in a mission preacher. While many people ask for missions during the Lenten or Advent Season, I also encourage it during the Easter and Christmas seasons, or during “ordinary time.” During less festive seasons, mission work gives parishes something to do that is often times lacking: CELEBRATE!
Sure, we need to pray together, endure the Lenten pilgrimage together, but I certainly believe that the best way to respond to all of the “bad news” is to celebrate our faith, enjoy each other’s company, and feast as a family. That may be one of the more unique approaches to my parish missions. I encourage people to laugh, express their joy, and use this to combat all of the negativity in the world. I’m certainly no stand-up comedian, but we do have some rip roaring laughs. The cliché is worth repeating, “there’s nothing more funny than the truth!”
As God looks at our Lenten experience, the unique time of our church’s history with the conclave, and hears the cries of the poor; I pray that we will be able to experience God’s Good News sent to all parts of the world – most importantly, sent to your heart and soul.
A new season of Savoring Our Faith has arrived and now airs Sundays at 5pm EDT. We are excited for this season and hope that you can watch it each week on EWTN. Check out their schedule HERE.
Also, if you subscribe to Sirius XM Radio, you should tune into The Catholic Channel every Thursday at 1pm to catch Fr. Leo’s weekly radio show, “Entertaining Truth” with Tom Leopold, former writer for “Seinfeld” and “Cheers”. And if you don’t subscribe, then you may want to consider it, because these guys are funny!
Your responses, comments and questions are so helpful to our cause. Please post your comments below.
Let us Pray:
Father in Heaven, in this holy season, we ask for the grace to hear Your word as it really is – GOOD NEWS! May all of our family, friends and fellow parishioners know that You walk with our Church in Her pilgrim way, but also – and most importantly – You walk with us each day, providing us the nourishment through the Eucharist and in Your Holy Word to guide us safely to the banquet of Heaven. We pray for missionaries and the “mission” of Grace Before Meals and all of those served by this apostolate. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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