New phase of Spirit Alive! has exciting opportunities - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

New phase of Spirit Alive! has exciting opportunities

Over the course of the past year, many of you took part in the first phase of Spirit Alive! — our diocesan spiritual renewal. I do hope you found the experience refreshing and reinvigorating, whether you came to one of the many services of reconciliation and hope held throughout our diocese, visited our Web site, took part in our Catholic Call-In, or perhaps viewed and discussed the filmed DVD retreat we produced.

My personal hope remains that Spirit Alive! will bring all of us into a deeper personal relationship with Jesus through introspection, new knowledge of our faith and sharing of our experiences. I further pray that whatever yearning we have for God in our hearts, whatever healing we need, whatever knowledge we seek, will be fully satisfied.

To that end, we are launching the second season of the renewal with many exciting opportunities and events designed to draw you to this deeper sense of Christ’s presence in your life and to further nurture the beautiful sense of togetherness our faith communities experience.

One very special event designed to do just that is the Blessing of Bibles on Nov. 30, the first Sunday of Advent. I am sure you will hear much more about this in your parish, but the hope is that all of you, children included, will bring your own Bibles to Mass to have them blessed. I hope this event will affirm our deep commitment to encourage all of you, if this be the case, to find and dust off your Bibles and start reading or, if you already have made it a habit, to continue with new energy.

It is no coincidence, then, that Project Mark also will begin on Nov. 30 and continue through the end of Lent. This initiative asks the question, what if every Catholic in our diocese read the same book at the same time — the Gospel of Mark?

We hope you will find Project Mark enriching, whether you choose to follow along on your own using your parish bulletin’s guiding points or visit for thought-starters. We hope many of you will make this a group effort at your parish or in your home.

In addition, we are encouraging all of our parishes to continue, expand or begin Bible-study groups to spark thoughtful discussion of the richly rewarding Letters of St. Paul, as this is the Year of Paul in the universal church.

A third initiative in this second year of Spirit Alive! will be the production and distribution of a new DVD in which Catholics just like you will share the joy they experience in reading and studying the Bible. We think that this DVD will inspire others to delve into the Scriptures, along with other audio-visual and Internet resources in the works.

As this second season of Spirit Alive! unfolds, you’ll be hearing much more about new opportunities, such as individual or parish retreats for those who are interested, to online “Web” retreats and resources for younger adults.

We hope to develop resources for teens, as well.

Since the first effort was so successful, and because we sense people still have questions on their minds about their faith, we do plan another Catholic Call-In on a date and time still being discussed. Our cochairs, Maribeth Mancini, diocesan director of Evangelization and Catechesis, and Father Peter Clifford, pastor of St. John of Rochester in Fairport, and their able committee already are fine-tuning this second season — even as they plan a third phase for later next year. I am very grateful for their passion around this project and their excellent work.

All of this makes for an enriching, exciting time, so be sure to stay informed by visiting

May I ask those of you who have found Spirit Alive! helpful and invigorating in some way to share this with others? We want as many people to experience renewal as we can, inclosing those who no longer attend Mass as regularly as we might hope. A word from a family member or friend might spell the difference!

Peace to all.

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