"How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love." - BLESSED TERESA OF CALCUTTA

Bishop Barres Lent 2017 Letter


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Dear Friends:
Lent 2017 is a time for us to pray for dramatic missionary growth in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
Part of that dramatic missionary growth is stimulated by our willingness to invite our inactive Catholic friends
back to Mass.
I put it this way in my Installation Mass homily on January 31: I appeal on this day of my Installation as the
fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre to every inactive Catholic in the Diocese to come back to the
power of the Word of God, the power of the Sacrament of Penance, and the power of the Catholic Mass.
I am so very sorry if you have been hurt or disappointed by the Church in any way and we stand here today to
support you, to love you and to listen to you.
In turn, I am asking every active Catholic of every age in the Diocese of Rockville Centre between January 31’1
and Ash Wednesday (which is March 1, 2017) to invite one inactive Catholic friend or family to come with you
to Mass and to gently, humbly, compassionately, non-judgmentally witness to the beauty of your intimacy with
Christ and your love for the mission of the Catholic Church and how it has enriched and inspired your life.
The power of these gentle and compassionate invitations is enormous. They always plant a seed of grace. And
now’s the time to make these invitations. Let’s all do it together and realize that it is the kindest thing any of
us could do for anyone.
For those who have made those invitations since January 31st, thank you! For those of us who need an
extension, let’s give ourselves till Easter Sunday, April16, 2017 to make that compassionate invitation to our
friends. And let’s open ourselves to making these invitations more frequently and consistently.
When we die, we will all look lovingly into the merciful eyes of Jesus and review our life with him. The
people whom we have helped to invite back to Mass and their Catholic faith will be standing around us with
radiant smiles. And we want a big crowd!
We connect our Lenten 2017 prayer, fasting and almsgiving together to this intention and to our constant
intention to pray for our brothers and sisters who are poor, hungry, suffering from war, violence or persecution
in our world.
You and your families are all daily in my prayers and Masses. Thank you for your witness of “holiness and
mission” to the world.

Sincerely yours in Christ,