Bishop Alexander Sample of the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan has issued a pastoral letter entitled “We Wish to See Jesus” on the New Evangelization and the Year of Faith. The letter is well-written and touches on some important realizations for both the diocese of Marquette and the Church as a whole. Here are some of the salient points of the letter:

It has been said that the Church has been in somewhat of a "maintenance" mode for too long. It seems that we in the Diocese of Marquette, at least in many areas, have been working hard to maintain what we have, to hold on to it. We can no longer be satisfied with such a posture. It is time for us to move from "maintenance" to "mission."  It is time to take up again the mission that Jesus Christ has given to us to proclaim the Gospel and draw others to life in Christ and in his Church.

Bishop Sample set forth the seven priorities for the New Evangelization as identified by John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter, Novo Millennio Ineunte:

Pastoral Priorities for the New Evangelization:

1. Holiness…
2. Prayer…
3. The Sunday Eucharist…
4. The Sacrament of Reconciliation…
5. The Primacy of Grace…
6. Listening to the Word…
7. Proclaiming the Word…

Drawing on Pope Benedict’s warnings of the Dictatorship of Relativism, and radical secularism, Bishop Sample outlined three fronts of the New Evangelization:

If we consider that we are engaged in a true struggle against such forces, and taking our direction from the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, this great pastoral initiative will be conducted on three different “fronts” as we battle for the salvation of souls in our time:

1. The Liturgy…
2. Faith Formation and Catechesis…
3. Charity…

Bishop Sample also proposed 2 particular actions that Catholics in his diocese should take up in order to support the work of the Year of Faith:

While not discouraging other individual prayers and sacrifices, as bishop and shepherd of the flock entrusted to my care in the Diocese of Marquette, I make the following earnest appeal. Since we are all members of the Mystical Body of Christ, united by the Holy Spirit in the bonds of faith, hope and love, I appeal to all Catholics in the Diocese of Marquette to observe the following as communal prayer and penance in support of our efforts at the New Evangelization:


1. Abstinence from meat on all Fridays of the year, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. This sacrifice should be offered for the fruitfulness of our efforts in the New Evangelization.
2. The praying of one Rosary each week, asking for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary in our efforts in the New Evangelization. I would like to especially encourage families to pray this weekly Rosary together (“the family that prays together stays together”).

Read the entire letter here. It is an excellent way to start the Year of Faith.