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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“Renew your wonders in our time, as though by a new Pentecost and grant that your holy Church, praying perseveringly and insistently with one mind, together with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and guided by St. Peter, may increase the reign of the Divine Savior, the reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen.”
In December of 1961 Blessed John XXIII included this prayer in his announcement of the Second Vatican Council. This call to prayer for a new Pentecost continues to resound through the Church even unto our day. In the same Spirit of faith in the power of the Gospel of Jesus, I am calling the Church of Detroit to a season of prayer for a new Pentecost to break out in our own Archdiocese. I invite all the faithful to a year of prayer for a new Pentecost beginning on Ash Wednesday, March 5, 2014 and concluding on Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015.
For the past five years, we have focused our combined efforts at strengthening both the parishes and the organization of the Archdiocese through Together in Faith II and Changing Lives Together. The seven mission priorities identified through Together in Faith II – evangelization and catechesis; Christian service and outreach; youth and young adults; lay leadership; stewardship and administration; Catholic schools; and vocations – provide us with the kind of clarity that will guide our pastoral ministry for years to come. You might call these past five years a time of practical preparation for mission. The year of prayer for a new Pentecost aims to provide us with the spiritual preparation we need in order to engage more effectively the first of our mission priorities, namely, evangelization.
Of course, the call to evangelization demands also a considerable pastoral and spiritual formation. It will affect how we engage parish life and ministry. Evangelization is also something that many of us are unfamiliar with, and perhaps even a little fearful of, in that it calls for a reconsideration of who Jesus is in our own lives and a new openness to sharing that experience with others. As an Archdiocese, we need some time to learn about evangelization and to let the Holy Spirit develop in us both the attitude and the means by which we can embrace this call fruitfully. To that end I envision convoking an Archdiocesan Synod on evangelization to be held sometime in the fall of 2016. But before we get busy with that, we need to pray.
The year of prayer for a new Pentecost will begin with the distribution of a simple prayer card, which I invite each of you to use in your daily prayer. You might even pass one on to a family member or neighbor and invite them to join in this prayer themselves. Further resources for individual and parish use will be developed and distributed as the year progresses.
In this year of prayer I ask each of you to pray our heavenly Father that we might together make way for the Holy Spirit to awaken the hearts of Catholics to encounter Jesus anew, grow daily as His disciples, and learn to give witness to the power of His mercy and love.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron
Archbishop of Detroit