‘I want to start a prairie fire . . . of the Holy Spirit’

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann blesses Enflame pins, which were handed out to delegates at the convocation during the event’s final Mass. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

by Moira Cullings
moira.cullings@theleaven.org

In his last few minutes with the delegates at Enflame, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann looked back at a wish he made 15 years ago at Church of the Ascension in Overland Park.

“One of the things that I said at that time is I want to start a prairie fire in northeast Kansas — a prairie fire of the Holy Spirit,” he said during his final homily at the convocation.

“I don’t know if there are any fire marshals in the room,” he joked, glancing around, “but I want you to be pyromaniacs of the fire of the Holy Spirit in your parishes and in your communities.

“I want you to take what you experienced here and received here, and now, to the best of your ability, to help communicate that and share that with others — with your families and with your parish families as well.”

Archbishop Naumann’s homily incorporated powerful stories of the witness of saints both well- and lesser- known, and he encouraged the delegates to seek guidance from these holy figures in their own evangelization efforts.

The archbishop touched on his recent pilgrimage with archdiocesan seminarians to encounter the poor in Mexico City — an undertaking that exemplified “what Pope Francis has been trying to emphasize so much in his papacy,” he said.

“This is where we’ll encounter Jesus most profoundly. We don’t go there just to serve human needs,” he continued, “but we go there to meet Jesus.

“Because that’s where he’s told us we will find him.”

At the end of Mass, the archbishop commissioned the delegates to go out into the world and bring Christ’s love to those they encounter.

“To you now being sent to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, know how dear you are to us all, how confident we are in your ability to humbly and convincingly advance the kingdom of God, and how sincerely you will be held in our prayer as you live out your apostolate,” he said.

Archbishop Naumann ended with a final blessing, where he prayed that God “make you worthy messengers of the Gospel and witnesses to the divine love before all the world.

“May the Spirit of the Lord be upon you, enabling you as you go forward to bring the good news to the lowly, the brokenhearted, the doubtful, the despairing and all who seek the truth.”

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