“The great task of the Church in every age is to preach the live the Gospel with clarity and conviction what effect that may have on others is not hers to determine.”

From Christendom to Apostolic Mission, page 38

Have you every asked the question, what is the purpose of the the Church? The answer depends on when the question was asked. If you asked the early followers of Jesus, their response would probably center around spreading the Good News of Jesus to others. If you asked the question in the Middle Ages, the answer might have to do with solidifying the faith. Ask someone during the Reformation and it probably would have something to do with holding onto the faith. Ask someone in the early twentieth century and the focus was on being dedicated to the faith. What about today? What is the purpose of the Church in our day and age?

Archbishop Fulton Sheen said in a conference, “We are at the end of Christendom. Not of Christianity, not of the Church, but of Christendom. What is meant by Christendom? Christendom is economic, political, social life as inspired by Christian principles. That is ending – we’ve seen it die.”

The book, From Christendom to Apostolic Mission, by Msgr. James Shea, provides a substantial background from a history of culture perspective for why “Lifelong Catholic Missionary Discipleship through God’s love” is so important. Ultimately, he stated, we are to seize the adventure of working with the Holy Spirit to live and share the saving message given to us by Jesus Christ. “Our task,” he said, “is to understand that we are living in a new apostolic age, to trust that the Holy Spirit is at work, and as St. Paul says, the more that evil is present, the more grace abounds.”

(source: Patti Maguire Armstrong, article from National Catholic Register)

Study Resources

St. Bernard will make available the book From Christendom to Apostolic Mission and a study guide to all small groups that would like to come together. Get together with one of your previous Renew groups or newly formed groups. Just find a small group, get together, and discuss the book and come together with other small groups in May to talk about what this means for St. Bernard parish. If you do not have a group to be part of, contact Deacon Mike.

To supplement the book, Dr. Chris Burgwald and Fr. Scott Traynor from the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls have recorded a set of youtube videos. There is one video for each of the study group sessions.

We are grateful to the Diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota for providing the basis for our study guide. We are also grateful that the Diocese allowed us to use the materials that were distributed to every parish and school in their diocese. We pray that the Holy Spirit will use this book and study materials to grow our parish and God’s Kingdom!
Deacon Mike Eash