February 1, 2015
On January 29th, The Most Reverend Christopher Coyne, former auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis (and the man who ordained me), was installed as the Bishop of Burlington, Vermont.
At his installation Mass, he offered a homily that challenges us to remember our call as Church. I share a brief excerpt from that homily below:
No one wants to join a church that lacks joy. When people who leave the Catholic Church to join other churches are asked why did you do so, the number one answer is “They made me feel welcome” followed by “I find the services joyful and uplifting.” If we are going to call people to our churches and they do happen to come in , what are they going to find? People who have the joy of the “good news” in their hearts, people who are welcoming and encouraging, who celebrate the Church’s liturgy with care and commitment or a people who “mourn their religion. Friends, both inside and outside we have to be about the “Good News.”
Besides getting our own selves and our own houses in order, brothers and sisters, I challenge myself and you to follow the Lord’s lead to “go out.” We are no longer the Church of the establishment in which if we just open our doors and ring the bells people will come. That is not happening. In fact, we are opening our doors and people are not coming. They are leaving. We have to change the paradigm to that of a missionary Church, one that has to go out and engage the wider community in our ongoing acts of Christian mercy and in our words and conversation.