December 21, 2018

Worship and Evangelization Outreach / Ken Ogorek

Put your life of faith at the heart of New Year’s resolutions

A co-worker teases me, “You have a habit of giving unsolicited advice.” On that note …

Here are some goals to consider for 2019. If one doesn’t fit, move on to the next. (More unsolicited advice.)


If you’ve not yet developed the habit of getting to Mass each and every Sunday and holy day of obligation (or the evening before) make 2019 the year you take this important step. Remember—we don’t go to Mass for God’s sake. Rather, he commands this of us because he loves us, knows what’s best for us and wants us to be happy. Liturgy can vary in quality, but we always get something out of Mass when we participate fully, consciously and actively.


Try celebrating the sacrament of penance the first Saturday of every month. Remember that confession doesn’t just address sins we’ve committed; it also helps us to avoid sin in the future. Even if you miss a first Saturday, you can seek the sacrament of reconciliation shortly after that, at another time that works for you. A result is that you’ll benefit from the grace of this sacrament much more than you would have with a maybe once-a-year approach.


Make 2019 the year you commit to understanding, appreciating and practicing the virtue of openness to new life. A great place to start is reading and reflecting on a brief, beautiful letter by recently canonized Pope St. Paul VI. This document, whose 50th anniversary we just observed, is called “On Human Life” and can be found easily on the Vatican website ( with a very helpful page devoted to it on as well.


“The best things in life are free,” goes the saying. And while material goods are not evil in themselves, we can have a tendency to let them dominate our lives at the expense of relationships, spiritual priorities and openness to new life. Material goods are important and serve helpful purposes; an overemphasis on them degenerates in to consumerism, distorted priorities and materialism.


Many well-meaning parents, grandparents, godparents etc. ask young people, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Resolve to tweak the conversation along these lines: “God has a plan for your life. How can I help you discern whether God is calling you to marriage and family life, ordained ministry, consecrated life or remaining single for a special, God-focused reason?” Let’s put our plans for young people aside in favor of honestly pursuing God’s holy and perfect will for each young person we know.

If more of us attended Mass faithfully, celebrated the sacrament of penance regularly, were as open to new life as we should be, focused more on relationships than possessions and helped our young people discern honestly God’s plan for their life rather than pressuring them to fulfill our vision of what their adult life should look like, our families and Church would look different in some positive ways.

Let’s move the ball forward on these areas in 2019. That’s the best advice I have at this moment—even if you didn’t ask for it!

(Ken Ogorek is catechetical director within the archdiocesan Secretariat for Worship and Evangelization. He can be reached at

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