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 | Mary D. Dillard, editor of One Voice | Photo By Getty Images/WDnet

Because we are Catholic

Before every issue of the One Voice magazine, I meet with Bishop Raica and Donald Carson, the director of communications, to discuss the theme of the upcoming issue. When the bishop is giving his perspective, I do my best to write down as much as possible. Those who know me are keenly aware of my poor penmanship, so, admittedly, my notes are more akin to scribble than legible text. Luckily, amongst my chicken scratch notes from the most recent meeting were the words, “Not because they are Catholic … because we are.”

In the context of this issue’s theme, those words gave me pause. Personally, the word evangelization has always conjured up visions of zealous Protestant preachers quoting Bible verses. As a hopeless introvert and product of our diocese where Catholics only account for 3.5 percent of the general population, evangelization has always seemed best suited for the outgoing and well-versed. But what about the bishop’s remark?

Working on this issue has led me to realize that evangelization can take many different forms — forms which even I can utilize. Simply making the Sign of the Cross before a meal, as you will read about in this issue’s cover story, is something every Catholic can do to evangelize.

More importantly, however, what I think Bishop Raica really meant by his observation is that living our faith to the fullest is the purest form of evangelization. We can’t be afraid of our Faith — to live it or to share it.

As noted in one of this issue’s feature stories, living and sharing our Faith means we do so with everyone, including those on the fringes. Whether one is poor or rich, revered or incarcerated, sick or healthy, it is our mission, as Catholics, to show everyone the love of Christ.

As Pope Francis writes, “Being Church means being God’s people, in accordance with the great plan of His fatherly love. This means that we are to be God’s leaven in the midst of humanity. It means proclaiming and bringing God’s salvation into our world … All of us are called to offer others an explicit witness to the saving love of the Lord, who despite our imperfections offers us His closeness, His word, and His strength, and gives meaning to our lives. In your heart you know that it is not the same to live without Him; what you have come to realize, what has helped you to live and given you hope, is what you also need to communicate to others.” (Evangelii Gaudium 114, 121)

Accepting our place in His plan and fostering a relationship with Christ changes us. As the bishop says, “It becomes the lens through which we live our life.” So, whether we start a conversation about our faith or just quietly make an effort to deepen our understanding of what we believe, we are living a life rooted in Christ — a life which will reflect Him, witnessing to those we encounter, not because they are Catholic, but because we are.