June 23, 2006


‘Be not afraid’ and ‘open the doors to Christ’

Be not afraid to receive Christ and to accept his aid! Help the Pope and those who want to serve Christ, with the power of Christ, serve man and all of humanity! Be not afraid! Open, better yet, throw open the doors to Christ! … Be not afraid! Christ knows ‘what is inside of man.’ Only He knows.

—Pope John Paul II’s homily from his installation Mass on Oct. 22, 1978.

The powerful message our late Holy Father delivered nearly 28 years ago still speaks volumes and offers relevant guidance to Catholics and anyone striving to live a faith-filled life today.

Be not afraid.

Ask a doctor, parent or clergy member and they’ll tell you that being afraid is part of the human condition. We’d be hard-pressed to find a person who’s never experienced fear at some point in his or her life.

Challenges at work, in relationships, with children and in so many other aspects of living cause most of us to seek assistance through the three F’s—family, friends and faith.

Be not afraid.

Reflecting again on the words from the Holy Father’s homily, there is another important message that stands out: One will always find peace and guidance by turning things over—or opening the doors—to Jesus Christ.

Jesus knows everything about us, and, despite our shortcomings, loves each of us unconditionally and wants what’s best for us.

Struggling with an addiction or a life-threatening illness and wondering where to turn?

Open the doors to Christ.

Facing a challenge with a spouse, child or loved one that has gone from a molehill to a mountain?

Open the doors to Christ.

Wondering if you can last another day at a job where a supervisor or colleague seems to ride you mercilessly at an unrelenting pace?

Open the doors to Christ.

“Be not afraid” and “open the doors to Christ” should be the mantras we all live by every day. Of course, some would argue, that’s easier said than done.

But as people of faith, we know our lives are a work in progress. And what we also learn along the way is that, with God, all things are possible.

— Mike Krokos

Opening the doors to religious vocations

When Deacon Scott Nobbe is ordained to the priesthood on Saturday by Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, he will be completing an eventful journey.

Like many priests being ordained in the United States in 2006, Deacon Nobbe’s life took him down another path before the priesthood. After college, he served in the U.S. Army and also taught in South Korea before realizing he was called to serve God’s people as a priest.

Statistics recently released by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, based at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., found that nearly 80 percent of the men scheduled for ordination in 2006 had a bachelor’s degree before entering seminary, and 30 percent had earned a graduate degree.

About 75 percent of the new priests had full-time work experience before entering the seminary, with the most common field being education.

Almost 10 percent of the ordinands had served in the U.S. armed forces, more than a third of them in the U.S. Navy.

The average age of the class of 2006 is 37, with 22 percent under 30 and 4 percent over 60. (Deacon Nobbe is 34.) Almost a third of the men were born outside the United States.

As people of faith, we thank Deacon Nobbe for taking the road to priesthood and offer a special prayer as he begins his ministry.

But we also encourage parishes and families to continue praying for vocations.

More priests continue to retire and, as we’ve heard in the last few years, “the harvest is great, but the laborers are few.”

When it comes to vocations to the priesthood and religious life, we again echo the words of the late Holy Father: “Be not afraid,” and “open the doors to Christ.”

— Mike Krokos


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