5,500 bishops, priests, deacons, parish staff and engaged parishioners joined together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Saint John Paul II’s visit to Denver in 1993 and to join in the launch of a new movement, More Than You Realize.
Using conference attendees as a focus group to determine the viability of MTYR as a forward-facing campaign
The conference caused an overwhelmingly positive response. The attendees understood the message, and felt called to be a part of a wider movement to address our most pressing challenges. After our conference store sold out, hundreds of more items were purchased from the online store. Attendees began sending in photos of bumper sticker citings in their communities. The most common message to our website was “How can I be a part of this?”
Archbishop Aquila’s Commissioning Mass Homily
August 11, 2018
Things are not always as they seem. Take, for example, the New York secretary Sylvia Bloom, who quietly amassed a fortune by copying her boss’ stock purchases over 60-plus years. When she died, it was discovered that she had $9 million, most of which this humble woman set aside for scholarships for needy high school students.
Just like Sylvia Bloom, Jesus Christ and the Church are more than you realize. Jesus was raised as the son of a carpenter, but he is also the Son of God. As people did with Jesus, it’s easy to dismiss the familiar, but we need to ask for the grace to see reality, to have God’s understanding of things, because Jesus and the Church are more than you realize.
The world tells us many negative things about who we are. But in the plan of God, you are not the sum of our faults. You are his beloved son or daughter. You are more than you realize. Through Jesus’ selfless outpouring of his life and the action of the Holy Spirit, you are what St. John Paul II called, the “‘living stones’ of the ‘spiritual house’ which is the Church.” The Church needs you to seek out how God wants you to use your gifts and talents for the Church, since in his wisdom the Father has made you a part of his plan to save the world.
Those of you who are gathered here today are the “best of the best” from throughout the archdiocese. You have been hand-picked by your pastors, movements or apostolate leaders as people who are disciples – those who have encountered Jesus Christ in a life-changing way and are dedicated to growing in your faith and sharing it. As those of you who have been following Christ for years know, discipleship is more than you realize. St. John Paul II described the life of a disciple when he prayed that the youth gathered for World Youth Day in Denver would learn what “‘laying down’ their lives through vocation and mission” meant, since this is at the heart of discipleship.
The archdiocese is at a crossroads and its future success or failure hinges upon what we do now to respond with God’s grace to the challenges before us. St. John Paul II’s charge from World Youth Day remains true for us today. “At this stage of history, the liberating message of the Gospel of Life has been put into your hands. And the mission of proclaiming it to the ends of the earth is now passing to your generation. … “Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places, like the first Apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel.”
I am commissioning you to take up this mission and to build a culture of discipleship throughout the archdiocese. The Church needs you and is enriched by your life and witness. Let us respond with faith, trust and generosity!
Lord God, source of all wisdom and knowledge, you sent your Son, Jesus Christ,
to live among us and to proclaim his message of faith, hope, and love to all nations.
In your goodness bless our brothers and sisters
who are today renewing their commitment to follow you as disciples.
Strengthen them with your gifts, that they may help create a culture of discipleship throughout the Archdiocese of Denver by their word and example,
relying on the truth that comes from you alone.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.