By Celine Klosterman
CLINTON — The Year of Faith was nearing its end, and the flames had gone out on the candles Catholics had carried into Prince of Peace Church before Mass.
But the baptized were still called to live as lights for the world, Bishop Martin Amos told about 300 parishioners from the Clinton Deanery Nov. 21.
He presided at the last of six deanery celebrations in the Diocese of Davenport for the Year of Faith, which ran from Oct. 11, 2012, to Nov. 24, 2013. Concelebrating the Mass were four priests serving in the deanery: Fathers Paul Connolly, Ken Kuntz, Scott Lemaster and Richard Okumu.
The Mass was celebrated on the anniversary of the 1964 Vatican II document “Lumen Gentium,” or “Light of the Nations.”
In his homily, Bishop Amos said faith refers to two things: what we believe and profess in the Creed on Sundays, and in whom we believe — Jesus Christ. “This is Christ’s Church where Christ must be the center and the focus. Through faith, Christ has invited us to share in a most precious gift — the Paschal Mystery… a gift that has freed us from the power of sin and the power of death.”
The core of the Good News is an encounter with Jesus, the bishop said. Catholics are called to share that news as did the apostles and each generation since. Doing so is the essence of Catholicism.
Pope John Paul II highlighted this truth when he called for a “new evangelization.” It’s vital in a society tainted by strong individualism, secularism and materialism, Bishop Amos said.
The new evangelization includes reaching out to those who don’t know Jesus and those who have fallen away — as well as growing in faith ourselves. Pope John Paul II wanted Catholics to do these things with boldness and joy, the bishop said.
“When someone says something at a party, in the work place or over a cup of coffee, does our faith shine through? If we don’t know the answer, or the reason, or how to articulate it — we need to continue the study of our faith.”
Pope Francis has added the call to simplicity, humility, welcoming and inviting, Bishop Amos said.
“We have our work cut out for us. I want to commend parents and grandparents for passing on the faith. I want to commend the teachers in Catholic schools and the dedicated catechists in our parishes. It is our turn to share the gift of faith we have received.”
Prince of Peace parishioner Ray Mantsch noted people can evangelize through their actions. Attending Mass more than once a week and volunteering in ministries such as parish landscaping not only enhances your own faith life, but serves as a witness to others, he said.
Fellow parishioner Bev Putman said: “My Catholic faith should always be visible in being friendly and helpful to all people, in living the faith daily in whatever duties we are doing. Sometimes this is difficult, but it helps to pray and remember that God is always at our side.” People can nurture their relationship with the Lord by seeking different ways to pray, meditating with him and reading books like “Shorter Christian Prayer,” she added.
Eric Wilden, also of Prince of Peace, said his parents and godparents opened his heart and eyes to the ways God works in his life. Without that awareness, the Catholic’s life would have a feeling of emptiness, he said.
Wilden appreciated the participation of members of other parishes at the liturgy, especially that of two dozen altar servers. “It was very nice to have the bishop here to celebrate this Mass.”