Archdiocese of Chicago


Catholic Chicago Blog

Hosted by the Archdiocese of Chicago

About the Blogger

As Director of the Department of Parish Life and Formation, Fr. Richard Hynes oversees the efforts of many Archdiocesan agencies. Prior to his appointment, he served in parishes in his native New Jersey and in the Archdiocese.

Monday, June 22, 2009

How to Be a Christian in the World?

In the year 150 AD an astute observer of Christians made many observations about them, not their creed but their behaviors.  Here are a few of his observations from a letter to Diognetus.  The full text is only 550 words.

Christians are indistinguishable from others either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of others. Unlike some people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives.

Catholic Festival of Faith, October 16 and 17. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont. Register Now!In October we have our 2009 Festival of Faith. We gather on October 16 and 17 at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont around St. Paul’s admonition: “The love of Christ impels us.” This every-three-year pattern of the Church of Chicago being gathered together by Cardinal George, allows for our communion to be strengthened and our common mission to be refreshed. 

The Festival web site at hosts the reasons for the Festival, the schedule as well as keynote presenters, breakout sessions that include sessions geared for young adults, families, youth, Polish and Spanish speakers, the variety of tracks for Saturday, the Friday evening concert and the Saturday evening Celebration of Marriage.  You can register now online.  Call with any questions or comments to our Festival voice mail 312-534-3100.  We will answer in 2 business days.

Christian in the World or Catholic Festival of Faith – let’s blog!

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Sunday, June 28, 2009 5:50 PM

Fr. Hynes:

I learned so much in the process of coming home to the Church that I would be happy to share...please let me know if there is anything that I can do to help.

Francine J.

Friday, June 26, 2009 3:52 PM

Mike B

Love the idea about the pastors and having their parish community participate. I'll share this with the organizers of our blog! With 363 parishes we have lots of possible bloggers!

What is "good" each week - another terrific idea! This week a young man sought me out. He recently moved here from the east coast, was raised in another religious tradition and found it 'wanting'. He loves to hear mass on TV and has begun to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We discussed his faith desire and he is now connecting to the pastor in his neighborhood. Good, huh!

Rev. Msgr. Richard P. Hynes

Friday, June 26, 2009 3:44 PM


Thanks for the response to the blog! Your ideas are terrific and timely! The three dioceses - Rockford, Joliet and Chicago - will be participating in an initiative called Catholics Come Home. This December media campaign will require the parishes to be 'alert' to those seeking to return to the practice of the faith and the sacraments. Your specific ideas are now in the planning! Thanks!

Rev. Msgr. Richard P. Hynes

Friday, June 26, 2009 3:43 PM

#1 Carol B.

Thanks for your response! Indeed, we Catholics need to become strong in our witness to Christ and the Church. Inviting Catholics back to the sacraments is one way. And witnessing to Christ is another. I recently heard of someone who was away from the sacraments for many years. It was the funeral of John Paul II which 'awakened' the conscious desire to return. The family has caught up in the sacraments, attends Church weekly and has as a family committed to unite themselves each month to some form of service for the poor. Recently it was cleaning the closets out, children and parents, and giving the clothes to the poor.

Rev. Msgr. Richard P. Hynes

Friday, June 26, 2009 2:15 PM

I think it's great that the Archdiocese has launched this blog.

One idea for increasing its exposure throughout the Archdiocese: rotate the "host" function among all pastors in the Archdiocese, and have the "hosting" pastor for that week encourage all of his parishioners to visit the blog and comment.

On the question of evangelization, here's my 2 cents. Evangelization is about spreading the Good News. Much in the same way that one would spread the word about an excellent movie that he or she had just seen. Most Catholics seem to understand pretty well what the "news" is: Jesus was born, lived, died, and rose from the dead. But what most Catholics do not understand well is what is "good" about this news. Imagine trying to recommend a movie to a friend or neighbor without being able to explain why you liked it, why it was "good."

I would recommend a week or two in this space about what is "good" about the "Good News." Let Catholics reclaim knowledge of their faith, and be armed to spread it properly.

Mike B.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 9:43 PM

"I have always felt as a Catholic that we needed to do much more in the area of Evangelization."

I agree with you that outreach to others should come naturally from those of us who are practicing our faith, You mentioned trying to bring the 'fallen away' Catholics back to the faith. As someone who was inactive and who came back, I would like to suggest that every parish do simple things to communicate 'hospitality' to inactive Catholics. I suggest that a packet of free materials be available somewhere where inactives -who might have wandered in to Mass to test the waters -have access to them. Some of the items that might be included in this packet are: a list of books to read to refamiliarize themselves with the nuts & bolts of the faith; a brochure reviewing the examination of conscience and the importance of Confession and perhaps something that explains the steps that are involved in returning to active faith practice. And if there is someone in the parish who made the same journey in returning to the Church, I would have them write up their story and include this in the packet. A card with a phone number of someone to contact for assistance should also be included in the packet. I would announce that these materials are available during the announcements at every Mass and include something in the bulletin. Better yet, have these materials at a table in the entryway and have a parishioner sitting there with a warm smile and the offer to help.

francine j.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 3:36 PM

I have always felt as a Catholic that we needed to do much more in the area of Evangelization. We have the beauty and truth of our Catholic faith and yet some of us shudder at the thought of sharing that faith with non-believers or even trying to bring a fallen away Catholic back to the Sacraments. It seems a somewhat new territory to us, but one I think that every practicing Catholic should quickly avail himself/herself of--namely to let as many people as possible know that there is life after death, that there is the joy of Heaven, that God wants all his children to be saved and sanctified in the name of his son, Jesus. In my experiences, many Catholics who are so quick to proselytize and pontificate to their brethren about all the ills befalling our Church-- might be better off trying a different, more gentle approach--that of personal invitation-making the person feel welcome in our church so that they'll want to come back again... and again.. and again.. so as to eventually be in full communion again or to consider becoming Catholic. A wise senior Sister once told me: "God will so smile on you if you can bring one lost soul back to Him." I get goosebumps thinking what a real joy that would be if we could all bring 1 person to the table of the Lord! So, with all that's seemingly going wrong in our world, I guess Evangelization is one idea that might just be recession-proof!!!

Carol B.

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