A new Church year brings with it opportunities to continue growing in faith and service to our Lord
I often come away from a wake service for one of our beloved dead with the question popping in my head, “what’s next?” For many folks it involves several months of settling affairs: the will, the estate, the stipends sent to those who serve the family of the deceased, Masses to be celebrated in the future, and dissolution of the estate.
Much of this points to the fact that we can’t take it with us. What can we take with us? A simple answer it is. At death our souls receive a particular judgment before the Lord and our eternal destination is hell or heaven.
Some are not ready for the beatific vision of God and so we are relegated to purgatory until the time punishment due to our sins is satisfied—thereafter we go to God. November is the month during which we reflect seriously upon these things and pray for ourselves and loved ones here on earth as well as for the souls in purgatory (our prayers and good works can actually shorten their period of time punishment in purgatory). Knowing that there is life after death is one of the most consoling teachings of our holy Church.
Is there life after a diocesan silver jubilee Eucharistic Congress? Let me assure you that there is: individual life, family life, parish life, deanery life, diocesan life and Church life in general. How would someone know? Sunday Mass attendance has increased; Bible reading has increased; “Catholic” conversation is more commonplace; even offertory collections are increasing. I salute and congratulate all who are making monthly visits to the designated parishes throughout the diocese in celebration of our 25th anniversary. Such effort really pays off. Visiting other parishes promotes the concept that we truly are a community of faith.
How many study groups have been formed throughout our diocese since the holy Year of Faith was announced? All of this goes together to promote the exposure of the Face of Jesus among our people.
The new Church year began the afternoon of Nov. 30, with the first Sunday of Advent being Dec. 1. We use the “A” cycle readings on Sundays and major feasts this year and cycle II on weekdays. These cycles enable us to cover God’s revealed Word once every three years so that in the average adult lifetime we make the holy Bible our own. We are indeed not only a people of the Table (altar); we also are a people of the Book.
Advent Sunday Masses are different. The Gloria is not sung nor recited—a stark difference from the sung praise of Christmas, a celebration that goes on and on to Jan. 12, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
So, oh yes, there is life after the Eucharistic Congress and the holy Year of Faith, and well beyond!
We have outlined on these pages the harried steps taken by the Diocese of Nashville in arriving over the years to publishing the award-winning Tennessee Register. The evolution of the Catholic newspaper of the Diocese of Knoxville certainly has been much more rapid. At present our bishop is trying six issues of The East Tennessee Catholic newspaper and six issues of The East Tennessee Catholic Magazine to reach all of us with the way, the truth and the life of our Lord.
The Catholic press is evolving mightily and this is certainly true in our Diocese of Knoxville.
Monsignor Mankel is a vicar general of the diocese and the pastor of Holy Ghost Parish in Knoxville.