by Matt Karr
“I have come to repeat the urgent call to conversion and the forgiveness of sins, and to implore from the Lord a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the church in this country.”
These words were spoken by Pope Benedict XVI at the opening Mass of his visit to the United States last April. In response to the Holy Father and at the request of Archbishop Naumann, the archdiocesan office of evangelization and catechesis is preparing an evangelization initiative, called Prairie Fire. As we listen to the church, our pope, priests, and laity, it has become clear that there can be no new evangelization without a new Pentecost; there can be no mission without the power of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, Prairie Fire begins where Pope Benedict began his visit to our country: by inviting the faithful to pray for a new Pentecost in northeast Kansas. Each parish has received cards featuring a prayer for a new Pentecost by Blessed Pope John XXIII and the image of Mary, Star of Evangelization.
It is our hope that every parish will offer the prayer at each Mass, and every family will pray the prayer together throughout this Year of St. Paul. We join the apostles in the upper room, praying and asking for the gift of the Holy Spirit. With an outpouring of the Spirit, the work of evangelizing and proclaiming the life and works of Jesus Christ will be fruitful!
As we pray for the new Pentecost, each of us is called to make a decision to turn away from sin and return to the Lord in the sacrament of reconciliation. Each parish will receive brochures to distribute to parishioners in preparation for Advent reconciliation services. The brochures teach about the sacrament and include an examination of conscience to help individuals prepare for reconciliation.
In addition, our office is hosting a number of events to help develop evangelizing parishes. Already more than 15 parishes are beginning to raise up leaders for the new evangelization in our archdiocese.
The Lord is opening a door for mission. I invite you to pray to the Lord for a new outpouring of the Spirit and the work of this new evangelization. I invite you to prayerfully recommit your life, family, and work to the Lord and be open to ways that he is calling you to participate in this mission.
The Lord is not raising up an army of theologians, he is calling regular folks with regular jobs within our community to participate in the work of spreading the Gospel.