A couple of years ago I had an opportunity to participate in a conferences whose main theme was “The New Evangelization according to St. John Paul II.” The main focus of my graduate studies and research focused on the theological writings of Pope John Paul II and his call for a New Evangelization. During the conference, the presenter reminded us about the Pope’s major challenge to priest in his letter published Holy Thursday 1997. The Holy Father spoke about the importance of being a true pastor to all families. How important it was to offer spiritual guidance to the men and women serving Christ in the apostolate of the domestic church. He invited us to reflect on our generation and its response to Christ’s call to discipleship. Our generation, it seems, has largely abandoned the faith yet expects all of the gifts of salvation. The confusion that has arisen comes from a lack of clarity in terms of conviction, knowledge and love of Christ. The challenge that the Holy Father made was this: “Will you be known by history as the generation that lost the faith and let the Church of Christ fall?”
These words had a profound impact on me and it has formed the impetus of my evangelization efforts. Today these words continue to challenge the Church, but most especially our generation. We must decide if we will continue to be the generation that allows the things of God crumble or will we be that generation that built anew for the glory of God. This weekend we inaugurate our new chapel dedicated to St. Joseph, Protector of the Family and the Universal Church. Our community has worked hard for many years to reach this important moment in which we may now have a place worthy of celebrating the mysteries of our faith and where all of the pilgrims who visit may have an encounter with Crist and Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The chapel is dedicated to St. Joseph precisely because there is much more development that the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe requires. St. Joseph is that great man that God trusted the care of his beloved Son and the Blessed Mother. Today we too entrust St. Joseph with what is most precious to us: our families. The church that we will one day build for Our Lady of Guadalupe has its foundations in every home. We cannot build anything for the glory of God and the honor of Our Lady if we are not devoted to them in our homes. The family is the foundation structure of the Church and it is there where God wishes to be served and worshiped.
Let us ask for the intercession of St. Joseph and Our Lady for the unity and love of every family and for the Church. Every father and mother is a pastor to their children whom they must lead to know Christ, the Good Shepherd.