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Vanity of vanities”

Vanity of vanities”

Today’s readings draw us into the daily circus of knowing the appropriateness of things, going for the right measures of the most beneficial goods and sharing our material goods with the needy. The 1st reading contemplates the enigma of life and how all turn to vanity when we make them an end in itself. The original meaning of the word “vanity “is ‘a gust of wind’ reflecting the fleeting nature of riches. The spiritual goods we acquire by sharing our material goods with the needy are true riches in the eyes of God and will serve us as provisions for our journey towards God.
St. Gregory the Great taught that when we care for the needs of the poor, we are giving them what is theirs, not ours. We are not just performing works of mercy; we are paying a debt of justice. Life does not consist in possessions but in sharing what we possess with others. The goods of the earth have been given to everyone.

This is what Jesus meant when he warned us against “storing up treasures for ourselves, instead of making ourselves rich in the sight of God” (Lk.12:21).By giving and giving ourselves, we make treasures in heaven and become rich in the sight of God. We have the duty of reaching –out, extending –hands, to empathize with others. In the parable of the rich fool, two things clearly stand out: The ‘rich fool’ never saw beyond himself. The aggressive pronouns “I, my, mine” are mostly found in whirlpool of self-centeredness. In the contrary, life presents us with the truth that for there to be any meaningful progress, we have to grow beyond the confines of my givenness, thereness and fallenness into a more inclusive climate of the pursuit of “our common good”. Let us therefore search our minds and bring to spotlight those shady parts of our lives that define the world and success only from the yardstick of the “self”. Secondly, the rich fool “never saw beyond this world”. His world was so large that it could find a place only in the protected territory of his barn, bank, investment and worldly cares. But the man who never realizes that there is another world is destined someday to the greatest surprise and grimmest of unimaginable shocks. The inestimable greatness of God can supply all our needs in Christ Jesus, according to his riches in glory. Today, Jesus ministers to a good number of us who shift from the urgency of serving God in our community to taking counts on how they are the most successful, the mightiest and most learned.

Contrary to what people think, Jesus isn’t knocking the acquisition of wealth nor the zest for private enterprise, rather, he was knocking the foolish idea that some people have of placing greater importance on laying up material treasures than on laying up spiritual treasures. We concretely violate the priority Jesus speaks about when we acquire wealth at the expense of becoming dishonest, when we acquire power at the expense of becoming ruthless, when we acquire reputation in the community at the expense of neglecting our own family. We grossly violate Jesus priority when we acquire a huge chunk of world’s passing treasures at the expense of losing eternal treasures in heaven. When a man clothes his soul with the garments of honor, purity and goodness, nothing can injure them. Let us therefore seek the treasures of heaven by investing our time, treasure and talents in our community for the sake of God and posterity. We are to tell ourselves that we must never allow our riches to define us or set bounds of exclusion in the face of God and people.

“How to Pray (Ask): Ask, Seek, Knock”

“How to Pray (Ask): Ask, Seek, Knock”

Today’s 1st and Gospel Readings encourage persistence in prayer. The 2nd reading, reminds me of what God has done for me in Jesus. God’s track record in history and in my own life shows that he will answer my persistent prayers in the way that’s best for me. “Great is the mystery of faith”. This mystery, then, requires that the faithful believe in it, that they celebrate it, and that they live from it in a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God. This relationship is prayer (1Thes.5:17-18). The drama of prayer is fully revealed to us in the Word who became flesh and dwells among us. To seek to understand his prayer through what his witnesses proclaim to us in the Gospel is to approach the holy Lord Jesus: first to contemplate him in prayer, then to hear how he teaches us to pray, in order to hear our prayer. Prayer is the pillow of religion. Only the self-sufficient do not pray, and the self- righteous cannot pray. Our persistent prayer to God is to be made in a climate of love and trust, for he is a loving Father who cares for us and will give us the best thing at the right time.
Prayer is “a surge of the heart, a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy” (St. Therese of Lisieux). St John Damascene, described prayer as “the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or requesting of good things from God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2590).Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening. It enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of himself. The degree of our faith is the degree of our prayer. The strength of our hope is the strength of our prayer and the warmth of our charity is the warmth of our prayer.

Understanding the 5 basic disciplines taught by Jesus in the “OUR FATHER” will most certainly help:

1. RELATE – Our Father who art in heaven –Relate to the Father with family intimacy, affection, reverence and love. We are not merely praying the “the deity” or the “Godhead.” We are praying to our Father who loves us, who provides for us and, who sent his only Son to die for us and save us.

2. REJOICE – hallowed by thy name! He is the giver of every good and perfect gift and to Him our praise is due. Praise and thanksgiving make us people of hope and joy. It is for this that we were made. God created us, so that we…might live for his praise and glory (Eph. 1:12).

3. RECEIVE – thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven – At the heart of this petition is an openness to God’s will, to his word of instruction, to his plan for us and for this world. When Jesus lives in us we hunger for God’s word and strive to know his will and have it operative in our life.

4. REQUEST – Give us today our daily bread – Intercessory prayer is at the heart of the Christian life. Allow “bread,” in this case, to be a symbol of all our needs. Our greatest need of course is to be fed by God, and thus bread also points to the faithful reception of the Eucharist.
5. REPENT – and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. – Sin is understood at two levels here:

1:Sin -(lowercase) our personal sins and trespasses, also referred to as our “trespasses.”
2. SIN (upper case) – referring to the whole climate of sin, the structures of sin that reinforce and underlie our own sins. Referred to here as “evil.”
LESSONS: Pray where you are, God is present everywhere and ready to listen. Pray when possible in a quiet spot where you can be alone. Pray to God simply and naturally, as to a friend. Pray remembering the good things God had done for you. Pray for God’s forgiveness for the unworthy things that you may have done. Pray for the things that you need, things that make your life finer and more Christlike. Pray for others, remembering the situations they confront and the help they need. Pray that God’s will may be done in you and in the world. Pray, and then start answering your prayer.

The Assurance of Rest a Promise of God Even in the Mist of Doubts

The Assurance of Rest a Promise of God Even in the Mist of Doubts

The origin of our being as human beings is without our contributions thus our being is only a gift from our maker. In his omniscience and omnipotence he created us and more importantly in his own image, thus as the book of Genesis stated “in his own image he created us male and female and God looked and saw that all he created is good.” Therefore we are “from God” as we share his being through creation, but “becoming of God” is our responsibility as we make free choices between good and negation of good. Therefore our becoming of God consummates our emanation from God.

This God is the source of all good, and he also thinks good of his creation and assures us of enriching us if we walk in his path (becoming of God). Therefore this God must be of justice if he holds us accountable for all that we do. In a simple term that if we do our path of becoming of his, and then his assurances will equal our choice/responsibility. Every day we are challenged to question the omniscience and justice of God as we confront our difficulties. Why would a barren woman for 14 years who later became pregnant but only to die while delivery the baby. Where is this justice that operates on the guidance of omniscience? Why would a woman who has married for many years, had problem with conceiving a child, decides to adopt three children with the husband, only for the husband to be sick which puts him on permanent disability, and more so the wife just found out that she herself has stage 4 cancer thus has few months to live. Where is the assurance of good for becoming of his and what is the justice for the children whose aye moment is suddenly cut off? (Yes indeed but his justice is built in his mercy as his wisdom goes beyond the empirical. we are called not only to do good but to be of good).

The conflicts of why, how, what and when are not parallel to human nature, but the wisdom of understanding these conflicts is only a gift of faith, hope and consistence of character since in the words of

“the devil knows that when he weakens our faith, replaces our hope with despair we will seize to praise God, we live to die hopelessly and we question the truth of God’s assurance of his ever abiding love.”

monsignor Nworgu A

The faithfulness of God lies on the appointed time of His operation, since his ways are not ours, he takes care of the cause and effects and not just the symptoms, he heals and restores permanently since his being is whole. Everything will pass away but none of his words passes away without fulfilment but only in the minds of the faithful and life of the hopeful with consistency of character.

Life without hope is life without faith, life without faith is life without God and the consequence of this is lifelessness, whereas the reverse of these weapons of destruction is the assurance that through him, with him, and in him we are conquerors. If only we can solve the indefinite problems of why, what, where, and when, we would have made our custom choices but again our human limitations would have caged our choices to less than a perfect one. Unlike us, God is omnipotent and omniscience thus his choice is summa perfectissimus. The substance of our being is divine not even the theory of the big band would contradict this therefore the knowledge of who we are and what we are made of stands as the unlocking master key to life of faith that stimulates life of hope which brings us to the believe in the supremacy of God’s will and his eternal love to us. The problem of “ I” is that you are alone and your strength comes from you alone but to let go allows you to submit your inability to God who takes over while you rest. The unacceptance of the limitation of our knowledge inhibits our experience of the omniscience and omnipotence of God. When we give total submission he takes whole control thus providence and assurance become his responsibilities not ours. . It takes cause and effect for this to be a reality, if we submit totally, then he makes all things new and the burden light for he is faithfully indefinite. Thus “come to me all you labor and are overburdened and I will give you rest.”

Catholicism Defined.

Catholicism Defined.

Catholicism is defined as the attainment of Christianism through the order of the Roman Catholic doctrine and practices which differs from Protestants and orthodox. The basic underlining belief of Christianity is in the general practice of Catholics like the believe in Christ the Son of God, Trinity, Word of God and more but differs in many ways as Catholics uses Apocrypha (Unknown authored Biblical Scriptures that are neither in the Old or New Testament )
These are the underlining characteristics of Catholicism

1. Doctrine

The two major scripts of Catholicism are the Holy Bible and Apocrypha and also various creeds but more especially the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed. Catholics believe that spiritual authority eminent from both Scripture and Tradition. The Catholic Doctoring is guided by the Holy Bible, the Church, the Pope, Bishops and Priests.

2. Sacraments

Catholic Church believe in seven different sacraments of the holy spirit Baptism, Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion), Confirmation, Penance and Reconciliation (Confession), Anointing of the sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. Catholics also believe through their priest transubstantiation occurs during the liturgy of the Holy Eucharist (where bread becomes the body of Christ)

3. Intercession

Intercession in the Catholic is strongly based on Mary’s (Mother of Jesus) intercession at the wedding feast in Kennan. Her role made Jesus to perform his first miracle even when it wasn’t his tome to do so. Saints, Angels and sometimes beings are used for prayer intercession. Icons and status are also used in Catholic Church

4. Salvation

Salvation is obtained through baptism which is why the sacrament of baptism is done on infants. This salvation can also be lost through sin but through perseverance salvation can be maintained.

5. Heaven and Hell

The perpetual existence in happiness or pain in afterlife defines the virtue of a good or bad Christian. Between Heaven and Hell Catholics believe in purgatory a temporary holding area for those that are not pure to enter heaven but not bad enough to be in hell. Catholics believe that with prayers and devotions from people on earth souls in purgatory can be released into heaven.

6. Satan and Demons

Satan was a powerful angel that disobeyed God in heaven and was casted down to earth with all his power and evil. Daemons are fallen angels, they are Satan’s agents.

7. The Rosary

The rosary is a prayer counting beads that is used to say certain prayers in the order of the beads arrangement. These prayers are Apostles Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father. Prayer counting beads can also be found in other forms of religion Hinduism, Buddhism and more.

Be Vigilant | (Rev. Dr. Erasmus Okere)

Be Vigilant | (Rev. Dr. Erasmus Okere)

The book of Wisdom recalls the great liberation of the Israelites from their land of slavery in Egypt. This event is of remarkable importance for them and more so to us today, the Chosen People of the new dispensation. The Exodus event foreshadows the real liberation of mankind and the elevation of man to the citizenship of heaven. We are therefore drawn to the appreciation of whom we have become in Christ Jesus Our Lord. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, the true Passover lamb, we have been freed from the slavery of sin and been made sons and daughters of God and heirs of heaven through baptism. Looking with optimism, the people of Israel recall their history and courageously hope for a joyful future. You are drawn to the conscious awareness that you should live a life of the redeemed, in all spheres of life in Christ Jesus.
The second reading projects Abraham and Sarah as heroes of faith. They were loyal to God’s command by unwaveringly maintaining a knowledge within their hearts beyond the reach of proof, and never were they disappointed. The Christian faith involves the belief in God against the world, the belief in the spirit against the senses and the belief in the future against the present.
Abraham’s faith was the faith ready for adventure, the faith which had patience and the faith looking beyond this world. Reversing the direction of our lives is not easy, but by stepping up our own efforts and with God’s grace, we can do it as many have done before us. You can do it if you will it. Take a bold step, say no today to the life of yesterday and put up a good fight against those components of your life that weakens you to the world that enslaves you to sin and Satan. Call upon Jesus today and you shall be saved.
The gospel invites us to be vigilant, to be found ready for the Lord when he comes to bring liberation. Jesus makes a strong statement to the disciples about the use of time, and about priorities. Some of it must have been puzzling for the disciples, who at that stage did not know about the events which would later unfold in Jerusalem.
But the point Jesus was making about being ready and about priorities was unmistakable. Time is a gift, with each of us having that gift in an unknown measure. Procrastination is like a thief who erodes that gift, wasting it by leading us to do nothing, or to do what is easy rather than what should be a priority. Why wait for tomorrow, what you can accomplish today? The last minute achiever is not the most balanced approach to life. It leaves us little choice with probabilities. It is difficult to use time wisely if there are no clear priorities. Our Lord Jesus is very clear that what matters most is being ready for the day when we will meet him in death. As a prioritizing principle, the knowledge that we will die one day and that we don’t know when is a powerful organizing force. Procrastination is not an option in the context of discipleship. It conjures up ideas of idleness, but it can actually be hidden by vigorous activity. Being in a state of permanent activity does not mean that we are doing what really matters. If we allow activity to push the harder spiritual stuff off our agenda then we are procrastinating on what should be a priority. Taking the opportunity each day to ask what matters most at a personal level and in relation to the demands being made on us is a powerful tool for being ready. It can bring order to chaos and reduce procrastination on the things that really matter. It can provide a calm and friendly assertiveness in the face of overwhelming demand. Most importantly, it gets the question of being ready, as Jesus asked it, back on the table. Don’t wait for the last minute to settle quarrels with your neighbor. Jesus is ever willing, ready and capable of meeting all our needs. Let us hurry to meet him. May your encounter with the Lord today bring you healing and blessings; peace and love to your neighbors.

The Wrong type of Kindness (Dr. Erasmus Okere)

The Wrong type of Kindness (Dr. Erasmus Okere)

It is hard to find more vivid character drawing greater economy of words than we find in today’s gospel showing serious clash of temperaments and the wrong type of kindness. Two sisters – Martha and Mary represent two different approaches to Jesus. One remarkable difference between the two sisters was that Martha wanted Jesus to listen to her, while Mary wanted to listen to Jesus. These two characters not only draw the values of both contemplative and active spirituality but underline the positive blend of both in our ‘techno-crazy’ environments.
We identify with Martha when we have work to do, problems on our mind, things to finish before we can relax. When we try to pray, our minds spin with a dozen distractions. We remember a phone call we should make, something we need to get at the store, a task that just can’t wait. And – God forgive us – like Martha we sometimes put down the “Mary’s”: “It must be nice. Look at all the stuff I have to do. I wish I could get a break.”
Fair enough, but that’s not the point. All of us know deep down that the best gift we can give to someone is not large sums of money or a delicious meal. That would be wonderful, but we want something more. When you and I think about our lives, we recognized that the best gift someone ever gave us was this: open-ended, undistracted listening. That is the gift Mary gave to Jesus. Martha was busy doing something for Jesus – and, to accomplish it, she wanted Jesus to listen to her. Mary on the other hand, just wanted to listen to Jesus. “Mary,” said Jesus, “has chosen the better part.”

In our human relationships (friend to friend, husband to wife, parent to child) we can easily recognize the power of open-ended, undistracted listening. Something similar applies to prayer. Jesus has all the time in the world to listen to you or me. He comes from the point of view of eternity, which by definition is undivided and perfectly open-ended. The problem is not on Jesus’ side. He can listen to each one, all day and all night. The problem is on our side. We are reluctant to do what Mary did – to put aside other activities and to listen. Recognizing the fact that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem- to die and atone for our sins, his whole being was taken up with the intensity of the inner battle to bend his will to the will of God. Jesus’ visit to the home in Bethany recaptures every moment we spend with him, where Jesus seeks to find an oasis of calm away from the demanding crowds. Martha in her kindness destroyed what Mary so generously gave. One of our great challenges in life is our approach to be kind to people in our own way. We need periods of quiet prayer in our lives if we are to keep our balance and perspective in life. We can get so much involved in what we are doing that we forget why we are doing it. We can get so involved in living that we forget the purpose of living. We can get so involved in pursuing the things money can buy that we forget about the things money can’t buy. It is this kind of mistake that Martha made in today’s gospel. She got so much involved in cooking a meal for Jesus that she forgot why Jesus came. He didn’t come for a meal, rather he came to be with friends.

Based on Sunday readings of July 17th 2016

“When God Calls” Part II (Dr. Erasmus Okere)

“When God Calls” Part II (Dr. Erasmus Okere)

“They will live secure, for from then on he will extend his power to the ends of the land. He himself will be peace”. Micah 5:4.

The world rests upon three things: upon truth, upon justice and upon peace. The triad absolutely dissolve into one, for when justice is done, the truth becomes an actuality and peace a reality. When Christ came into the world, angels sang about peace; and when he went out of the world, peace was bequeathed. Peace therefore takes its locus where there is harmony between two opposed factions.

Peace is a climate in which every person and every group of persons can live the fullness of life that God intended for us when he created us. Peace isn’t merely the absence of war, and isn’t limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. It is “the tranquility of order”; it
is the work of justice and the effect of charity (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2304).

The followers of Christ are called and empowered, not only to personalize the peace of Christ but also to be messengers of peace, in every way possible, especially by working for a just world order. Peace demands a mentality and a spirit which, before turning to others, must first permeate him who wishes to bring peace. Peace is first and foremost personal, before it is social. It is precisely this spirit of peace which it is the duty of every follower of Christ to cultivate.

Today’s Gospel (LK 10:1-12, 17-20) and the other readings tell us that we too have the task to proclaim the Kingdom. Like those seventy-two persons we too are called to proclaim that the Kingdom of God is at hand, and this has to be done through our lives. It is necessary for us, therefore, to lend a listening ear to the sick and lonely, helpless, young and elderly and give them that consolation and healing. We have to give them the peace of Jesus.

The call of Jesus continues to come to us even today in our families, social and religious
associations and our task as Christians is to be bringers of peace to everyone we meet and everything we do – “LORD MAKE ME A CHANNEL OF YOUR PEACE.” Of course, we need that peace and inner security within ourselves first of all. It is a peace that a close following of Jesus can bring. It is a peace that our conventional society, wracked as it is with so many externally-caused stresses and fears and ambitions, seldom seems to know. Let Peace be our greeting and Peace be our hallmark. Peace is the sign of the presence of God’s kingdom. Igbo na-asi “UDO KA NMA”. May the God of peace be in our hearts and in our homes today and every day.

UDO NKE CHINEKE DIRI UNU NILE!

Based on Sunday readings of July 3rd 2016

“When God Calls” Part I (Dr. Erasmus Okere)

“When God Calls” Part I (Dr. Erasmus Okere)

Following Jesus will cost me.I am called to live by the spirit and not gratify the desires of the flesh. Today, the church calls us to be totally committed to Christ. Without “Looking back,” we must freely “slaughter” all the forces, distractions, and obstacles that prevent us from serving the Lord well.

In the first reading, (1 KGS 19:16B, 19-21) the call of Elisha and his response was a dramatic event. Elisha demonstrated a total commitment to his call. The slaughtering of his oxen, the kissing of his father, and the bidding of farewell to his men, were all symbolic gestures that he had freely accepted his call. It was a sign of total submission to the will, and call of God over his own will. It was also an indication that he loved God more than his business, and his own self. The slaughtering of his oxen is very significant for us today. He “killed and abandoned everything” that could have become an obstacle to his decision to serve God in the future. Also, he overcame the temptation to keep them. This was the proof of his total committed to God. What have we sacrificed, and what is our proof of it?

In the second reading, (GAL 5:1, 13-18) Paul reminds us of the freedom we have in Christ. This freedom is for a purpose. It liberates us from the things that enslave us in order to be committed to Christ. It is not freedom to indulge in vain acts, or what Paul calls “self-indulgence.” It is not freedom to become inactive. Instead, it is freedom to follow and serve the Lord. This freedom binds us to Christ. It is a freedom that permits us to submit to Christ, and to surrender all to Him.

The gospel (LK 9:51-62)brings us to the apogee of this total commitment to the Lord. Christ knew and saw the weakness of the young men who wished to follow him. He knew their struggles, as well as their distractions. They had “genuine intentions as well as excuses” as most of us often do. They wanted to follow Christ, yet they were not ready to make the sacrifice.

So seeing their predicament, Christ addressed them: “Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

(Gen 19, 26) and Judas Iscariot into a traitor. It represents all unnecessary attachments. It does not permit us to make God’s call through his Son Jesus Christ, a permanent experience in our lives. One of the greatest obstacles we have today as Christians is that “our oxen” are still alive. Although we are professed Christians, our oxen are still hidden somewhere in the fabrics of our life. They represent old habits and mundane things that we are still strongly attached to. We must “slaughter” them as a sign of our total commitment to Jesus Christ or, our attention will remain divided because: “You cannot serve God and Marmon at the same time” (Lk 16, 13).The church, therefore, calls us to be totally committed to Christ. Like Elisha, we must “slaughter all the forces, obstacles, and vices such as: envy, jealousy, pride, peddling rumors, character assassination, selfishness, materialism, immorality, and old bad habits. These make it hard for us to be committed to Christ. Then, we can confidently say to Christ: “O Lord, you are my portion and cup” because, we have freely offered all for his sake. If we are committed to the Lord, He will definitely show us the part of life. As a working tool in the hands of God, remember that the work is the Lord’s, therefore, as you do the work of the Lord, never forget the Lord of the work. Have a blessed week ahead.

Based on Sunday readings of June 26th 2016

The father is the “priest” of the home (Dr. Erasmus Okere)

The father is the “priest” of the home (Dr. Erasmus Okere)

The Igbo Catholic Community heartily congratulates all our fathers and wish you a happy fathers’ day! We are proud for your inestimable commitment, support and love on your families and our church. We pray God to grant you the blessings and wisdom you need to remain the awesome dads you have been.
What Jesus says in (Mtt.9:36), is true of many men today: we are “troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd”. When a man would rather spend time on things that never add up to the wellbeing of the family or “hanging out with the fellas” than have any meaningful relationship with his wife and children, he is lost. When a man loses the sense of fairness, compassion, responsibility and respect for his wife and children, he is lost. When a man under the influence of jealousy, selfishness, indolence, drugs or alcohol humiliates and beats his wife, passing on a legacy of violence and abuse to his children, he is lost.

Just as Jesus called laborers into the field to reap an abundant harvest of souls, He calls husbands and fathers who are lost to use the navigational tools of prayer, forgiveness, and mercy to find our way back to our Father in heaven. Just as Jesus called men to the priesthood to serve His Bride the Church, the same Jesus calls men through baptism to be priests of the domestic church, the church of the home. A husband and father should exercise his priestly ministry through “the offering he makes of himself and his daily activities. “You husbands must live with your wives with the proper understanding that they are more delicate than you. Treat them with respect, because they also will receive, together with you, God’s gift of life. Do this so that nothing will interfere with your prayers (1Peter3:7).

This offering should be united to Christ’s offering in the Eucharist “for their work, prayers, and apostolic endeavors, their ordinary married and family life, their daily labor, their mental and physical relaxation, if carried on in the spirit–and even the hardships of life, if patiently borne–all of these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”. The main job of the priest is to offer sacrifice, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should lead fathers to intimate and personal relationship with God, uniting him so closely to Christ that the Eucharist becomes the very soul and center of his spiritual and family life.

The priest of the home must accept the responsibility of living “the Gospel in faith and proclaiming it in word and deed, without hesitating to identify and denounce evil.” Catholic parents are the primary and indispensable catechists of their own children. Fathers are not only called to preach the Gospel but also, and above all, to live the Gospel by setting a good example for their children. If our children see us living the Catholic faith with fidelity and joy, then we can be sure that our example will be worth more than a thousand words and have confidence that our love for Christ will be written into the hearts of our sons and daughters. When we do this, the Catholic faith will become more than a fond memory that fades with time. A father’s living witness to covenant intimacy will become his enduring legacy, a precious gift for his children, and a sure sign of hope in God’s endless mercy and love. Wishing you a renewed vigor in service to God and family, as you enjoy the dignity of fatherhood.