by Rick Cheek
I was eating breakfast in a restaurant in Orlando, Fla., a couple of weeks ago and noticed an exchange from some old friends who had not seen each other in, what I could gather, over five years.
It was like they picked up right where they left off many years before. This exchange reminded me of the prodigal son. Like the exchange of the two friends, when we come back to the faith after being away for so long, the Father is always glad to see us return — no matter how long we’ve been gone.
Thinking about the “Year of Faith” we kicked off on Sept. 13 here in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas really got me excited to see a lot of our laity gathered at the chancery — ready, willing and pumped.
But here’s the deal. Shouldn’t we be excited every year, every day, about our faith? We should, but sometimes we need to go to the mountain to get a boost, go on a retreat or a day of reflection. This “Year of Faith” is not about bringing the fallen away back into the church so much as it is about enhancing our faith, deepening our understanding of, and for, our church, so that we can have the tools to reach out and know what to say to bring our brothers and sisters back home again.
And the Year of Faith isn’t just for adults; it’s for everyone, even our young people who are constantly being drawn into the perils of a world without God in it. When you’re planning activities for your family, be sure to include your children. Ask them what they would like to do in the Year of Faith. Younger children still need some help along the way, but don’t sell them short; the wisdom of a child can sometimes humble you.
Here in the youth office we are incorporating the Year of Faith in most everything we do. It started with Camp Tekakwitha this summer, our Catholic Youth Rally in August and will continue with the Jr. High Youth Rally on Feb. 24 at Prairie Star Ranch with “Love It, Learn It, Live It.” The day will be filled with living, loving and learning how to live out our faith, geared toward our junior high-aged youth. Our keynote will be Jesse Manibusan, a popular Catholic keynoter who has been involved with youth ministry for over 26 years.
Father Scott Kallal, AVI, posed two questions at Mass last Sunday: What are your gifts and what are you going to do with them? As we gear up for this Year of Faith, what are we going to do to bring ourselves into a deeper relationship with Jesus?