Excitement abounds

By | January 26, 2011

Right around the time the Packers were presented with the Halas Trophy in Chicago, hundreds of Catholics were gathered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. They were there to pray for an end to abortion — and for a successful March for Life the following day.

This year marked the 38th annual March for Life. People from across the country traveled to Washington, D.C., to demonstrate their belief that life is sacred — from the moment of conception to natural death.

The event is more than just a walk, with participants holding placards and banners against abortion. It is a demonstration that people of many ages, faiths and colors are united in the cause for life. Speakers, prayers and testimonials shared throughout the weekend help to build the same kind of excitement and euphoria that Packers fans are feeling.

March participants, including a contingent from the Diocese of Green Bay, return home energized and motivated to cheer on respect for human life — in word and in deed.

Last August, the Diocese of Green Bay launched a new initiative to help plan for parish ministry in the future. The Diocesan Visioning Process began by asking Catholic focus groups as well as parish and diocesan leaders to describe the best examples of parish vitality. Then they were asked to look five years into the future and describe what inspiring things should be happening by then that enhance parish life.

Small groups met last fall throughout the diocese to discuss the best parish practices and dreams for what might be changed to better improve and invigorate parish life. The experience produced enthusiasm from knowing that a lot of brainstorming was taking place to secure a meaningful church community for generations to come.

With all of the comments now compiled in reports, the next step is a February Leadership Summit, where 50 Catholic leaders will spend three days reviewing the material and helping Bishop David Ricken outline a plan of action.

When people of faith come together for a unified goal, they ignite creativity and energy that is reminiscent of the disciples who were filled with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.

So let’s cheer for the Packers as they attempt to win their 13th world championship. Let’s also applaud all of the March for Lifers as they return to their parishes from Washington, D.C. May they give witness to us, helping us to see that the march for life is a daily, prayerful procession.

Finally, let us pray for the success of the Diocesan Visioning Process as it nears completion. It will be a road map for the direction of parishes in the diocese for years to come. May those attending the Leadership Summit at Monte Alverno Retreat Center be guided by the Holy Spirit as they complete the process begun last August.

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