ROME, OCT. 19, 2009 (Zenit.org).- In the midst of a changing world, priests are needed to serve the American people and bring them back to an active living of their faith, says Cardinal John Foley
The grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem stated this Saturday in an opening Mass for the school year at Rome’s Pontifical North American College Casa Santa Maria.
In his homily, the cardinal, the former president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, recalled his own days in this place of study 46 years ago.
“The Second Vatican Council was in progress,” he remembered. He studied there until 1965, when he returned to Philadelphia.
The prelate acknowledged, “In the Church, things have probably changed more during the past forty years than during the previous four hundred.”
He continued: “It has been an exciting time and, apart from the time of Our Lord himself, although we truly live in a Year of the Lord, Anno Domini, I cannot think of a more exciting time in which to have lived.”
Cardinal Foley encouraged his listeners to “thank God for the special grace to have lived in this age.”
He added that “every day and in every way you are able to communicate your faith and love for Jesus Christ with more methods than the first followers of Jesus ever dreamed of.”
“A combination of the Second Vatican Council and the computer revolution has changed our lives in ways you can scarcely imagine,” the cardinal affirmed.
One change, he pointed out, is that we are emerging from the “American century.”
The prelate explained, “As a nation, the United States is still important and probably remains the most powerful nation in the world, but — little by little — power seems to be shifting to Asia, to China and to India, and perhaps to Latin America, to Brazil and Chile and even Mexico.”
Within the United States, he added, there is a growing percentage of “unregistered, inactive Catholics.”
Cardinal Foley challenged his audience to prepare themselves to “offer very special service to the Church,” reminding them: “You are to serve and not to be served.”
He affirmed: “All of us have to reawaken the faith of Catholics who have somehow lost their way and don’t even know it.
“We do have to continue and enlarge missionary efforts around the world, but we have to intensify our apostolic efforts to welcome back to their spiritual home our inactive brother and sister Catholics and to reach out to those with no faith to offer the truth and love of Jesus Christ.”
The cardinal concluded, “I remain convinced that nothing is more important than teaching people about Jesus — because in him we live and move and have our being.”
He said, “May God bless your studies — and your lives here in Rome and as you return home to be new apostles!”
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