Hope all is well with each of you! With the gray skies above and the Ann Arbor Schools in the midst of Finals this week, Pope John Paul II's words about Our Mother Mary seem especially relevant "Know, that in difficult times…you are not alone: like [the disciple] John at the foot of the Cross, Jesus also gives his Mother to you so that she will comfort you with her tenderness.”
Last night at our regular Sunday night Village meeting we discovered three particular devotions to Our Lady- the Miraculous Medal, the Brown Scapular, and the Rosary. The Rosary is can lead us closer to Jesus! In the words of Pope John Paul II, "Simple yet profound, [the rosary] still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness.” Together we heard the challenge to avoid the empty recitation of the Rosary, choosing instead to pray the Rosary devoutly by contemplating on the mystery given for each decade. Friends, keep in mind that while devotion to Mary is certainly not necessary, it can be a powerful way to draw closer to Christ by asking Mary's intercession and imitating her way of life!
In other Village News, registration is now open for the Franciscan University of Steubenville Youth Conference this summer! The Village has been attending these Conferences for the past two years, and our teens have unanimously found them to be challenging, inspiring, and *so* fun. This Youth Conference will feature at least one powerful hour of Eucharistic Adoration, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass each day, nationally-renowned Catholic speakers, men’s and women’s time discussing the call to chastity, and two workshop sessions addressing a broad spectrum of topics.
--Checkout the Steubenville promo video at http://www.franciscanyouth.com/
--Join us at Dead Theologians this Thursday from 7-8 to discover St Thomas Aquinas!
--Your Question of the Week, Answered Below: What is going to happen to all the people who never hear the Gospel?
The Village News 1/24
This Thursday, 7-8pm: St Thomas Aquinas @ the Dead Theologians Society
Through the Saints of yesterday, the Dead Theologians Society, or DTS, inspires the youth of today to become the saints of tomorrow! Come on out and join us this Thursday to discover the man who once said, "Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.”
--6:30-7pm: gather in the Parish Offices for social time
--7-8pm: gather in the Church choir loft for prayer (the Elizabeth St door is always open)
--8-8:30pm: return to Parish Offices for hot cocoa & snacks
Next Sunday’s Village: Decoding the Marian Apparitions
Marian Apparitions are moments in history where Mary appeared to someone and gave them a message for the world. There are nine major Marian Apparitions that have been approved by the Catholic Church, moments in time where Our Mother came to give us a very special message! While these apparitions do not improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation (Catechism of the Catholic Church #67), they bring us the advice of our loving Mother to return to God with all our hearts! Next Sunday we’ll focus in on her apparitions at Guadalupe (in 1531), Lourdes (in 1858), and Fatima (in 1917). What were her messages to the world– and how do they apply to us in 2010??
RSVP to Serve at the St. Andrew’s Breakfast Program, Saturday 2/6 from 7-10am
For over 25 years, men and women in need have made their way to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church for a cup of coffee and a hot breakfast any day of the week. Saturday, Feb 6th we’ll be joining our Christian brothers and sisters to serve breakfast to 100-150 people in need! We’ll be meeting at St Thomas at 7am, serving until 9am, and catching the 9am Mass to finish! St Andrew’s has asked us to bring just 7 volunteers to help cook and serve breakfast, due to the size of their kitchen. RSVP to Youth Minister Beth Spizarny as soon as you can!
Sign-up for the Franciscan University of Steubenville High School Youth Conference
This July 9th-11th, join The Village @ St Thomas for our annual road-trip to the Franciscan University of Steubenville High School Youth Conference! The Village has been attending these Youth Conferences since 2008, and our teens have unanimously found them to be challenging, inspiring, and lots of fun. This Youth Conference will feature at least one powerful hour of Eucharistic Adoration, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass each day, nationally-renowned Catholic speakers, men’s and women’s time discussing the call to chastity, and two workshop s essions addressing a broad spectrum of topics.
Your Question of the Week:
What is going to happen to all the people who never hear the Gospel?
Regardless of whether people know it or not, humankind was created in order to know, love, and serve God. In Romans 1:19-20, St. Paul writes: “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature, namely, His eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.” In salvation history, God chose to reveal Himself after the Fall of Adam in many ways, culminating in the coming of His Son, Jesus, the New Adam. Jesus paid the debt for all sin through His Sacrifice so that all men may have the opportunity to be reconciled with God. The Gospel is the testimony of God’s desire to redeem humankind through Jesus, and the call to believe in Him as Lord. We know through Sacred Scripture that we can be saved from death only through the grace available through faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8). Calling on Tradition, the Catechism states that “believing in Jesus Christ and in the One Who sent Him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation” (CCC 161) and "outside the Church there is no salvation" (CCC 846).
So what happens to someone who—through no fault of his or her own—never has the chance to hear the Gospel, knows nothing of Jesus, but who may still live a good and exemplary life? Our Particular Judgment when we die is a reflection of our acceptance or rejection of God, and it is evidenced by how we have lived. We know that God has predestined no one to Hell (CCC 1037), so how do we reconcile this with the need to have faith in Jesus? What if a person never has the chance to specifically reject God because they are ignorant of the Gospel, or they do not even know about sin and redemption?
To answer this question, the Catechism quotes two documents from the Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium and Ad Gentes: “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do His will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation” (CCC 847). "Although in ways known to Himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men." (CCC 848).
Through the mercy of God, people who do not know of Him directly can be saved, but that does not mean that they all will be saved. The Church reinforces the idea that relying on the mercy of God does not mean that we can abandon our direct call from Jesus to “go forth and make disciples of all nations.” Rather, it makes the need to accept that call even stronger.
Many today think that all people will go to Heaven. Some do not think that Hell can exist because a truly loving God would not condemn anyone. As Catholics, we know that this worldview is in error, that Heaven and Hell exist, and that God’s justice reflects our own choices and free will. We should pray for those who have never heard the Gospel and entrust them to His mercy, and we should also pray that we can be strengthened in our mission to bring God’s fullness of revelation in Jesus to everyone in the world. We are grateful to know Christ, and we entrust to our Blessed Mother those who do not yet know Him. We pray that she may help us and all others obtain the grace necessary for salvation.