Author: Joe Melvin

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No doubt we will be hearing a great deal more about the incredible importance of EVANGELIZATION at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church as we continue to navigate the white waters of the pandemic etc. As we courageously continue to find meaning and purpose to our lives regardless of the unusual challenges that we face to be safe and yet productive in the disarray that we encounter in our daily lives. Do we not often wish for the “good old days“ even in our church life? You know there is an irony for most of us as we think about EVANGELIZATION from a historical perspective, in that most of us would be described as “cradle Catholics“, and generally understand the process of EVANGELIZATION as something that other Christian communities might utilize “to  advertise“ their church programs, their school or classes available to the community, or something else they provide of value to the community. Unfortunately many would describes such an event as a form of “marketing“ which is often perceived as flawed and not very likely to produce a positive outcome.

If I may suggest, imagine just for a moment that you are standing outside our church at about 10:45 AM on a Sunday morning as individuals are hustling to get into church and find enough seats with proper social distancing for their family or they’re standing looking at the outside church field trying to figure out the best place to sit for the 11 AM outside Mass liturgical Celebration. Let’s imagine just a little deeper, in slow motion and you are intently focused on EACH person you see as they arrive at OLOL. You observe that some are young and carefree, others are old and sickly or weak, while many are vibrant and appear full of health. Some are apparently wealthy and others are burdened with financial challenges. Some are obviously eager to be refreshed in their spiritual life and others are coming because of obligation. Many are married, while others struggle desperately for a relationship. Many are happy being single and several struggle with the problems associated with divorce while feeling burdened as a single and responsible parent. All are coming for something….many are seeking a deeper relationship with their God while others are looking for someone to talk to, perhaps a friendship, or to be part of a community.

If we imagine even further that there is an incredible translucent thread that ties all of us and this event together. Our Pope Francis and his immediate predecessors strongly encouraged us to recapture the spirit of the early church with their zest for understanding their faith and their eagerness to spread their gift to others. It is well known that the early Christians had a common platform of personal enthusiasm (enthusiasm comes from a Greek word meaning “God within“) which seem to be inseparable from their profound understanding of the true presence and their personal experience of the Risen Jesus Christ ever present in their daily lives. Our papal leaders truly believe that the new EVANGELIZATION is our “game changer“ as we allow the power of EVANGELIZATION to enter into and permeate into our personal lives with the true presence of the Risen Christ which now fills to the very depths of our lives thus allowing us to genuinely welcome our “brothers and sisters” whether they come to us in the person of those who feel isolated, rejected, estranged or even hostile. Regardless, we accept them as they often come with feelings of indifference or burdened with overwhelming needs due to the empty and lonely feelings from within. We now arrive at a different understanding that EVANGELIZATION is not only intended for ordain ministers and women who concentrate their lives to be in prayer for others or catechists who officially carry the “Good News“ to so many needy individuals throughout the world. We now much more fully understand, as we listen to the late Pope John Paul VI as he eloquently stated that “every Christian is just as much of a missionary to their fellow man because they have truly no arrived at such an in-depth understanding of the love of God for each of us in Jesus Christ”. It becomes imperative for all of us “to spread the Good News throughout the world (your personal world)“ so that everyone you encounter truly feel the presence of the resurrected Jesus Christ in all that you do and everyone you encounter.

As we allow this metamorphosis to truly transform us into disciples of the Risen Jesus Christ, we participate in this incredible Mission of Love: SERVICE TO ALL OTHERS, SERVICE ABOVE SELF as each of us concur with our papal leaders: EVANGELIZATION is the most important service we can offer to others. The renowned Catholic theologian and scientist Dr. Teilhard de Chardin quite eloquently describes love as we understand it’s power in EVANGELIZATION as he states, “Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love. Then for the second time in the history of the world, men will have discovered fire.“

  • Tim Lynch PhD.

Recently a friend asked me what is the best perspective to have about Evangelization at a time like this in which so many people are overwhelmed with COVID-19 pandemic? I remarked this is a great question for all of us and it is first of all important to recalibrate ourselves and sort of “reevangelize” who we are and ironically we have now officially entered the season of “Evangelization,” which we commemorate each year as a reminder of the increasing significance and importance to the very life of our parish in the life of the Catholic Church throughout the world. Through Evangelization, we have a greater respect not only for ourselves as we become personally evangelized, but as we participate in the evangelization of others. We become more cognizant of the corporal works of mercy, the beatitudes, and the encouragements within Saint Paul’s Epistles to take care of others by avoiding gossip, slander, falsehood, jealousy, and any form of unkindness! Specifically, in today’s parlance, we are neither aggressive, nor passive, nor even more unhealthy, “passive aggressive.” In contrast, we simply model the assertiveness that was profoundly displayed through the kindness of Jesus Christ as he consistently said his truth, with respect and honesty! He always displayed completely responsible and profound integrity, absolute authenticity and clear transparency as he walked his journey of life with courage. (The word “courage” comes from a Greek word who’s root is “fear“….we arrive at courage as we pass through our fear with persistence which is well promulgated by Calvin Coolidge who considered persistence as the greatest of all virtues!

Two recent popes, the late Pope John Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, eloquently stated that every Christian is just as much of a missionary to their fellow man because they have truly now arrived at such an in-depth understanding of the love of God for each of us in Jesus Christ. They concurred that Evangelization is the most important thing that we can do as Christian people. It becomes imperative for all of us to spread the Good News with enthusiasm (the word enthusiasm is also from Greek- and it means “God within”.) Perhaps we are reminded of the youngster standing on the corner with the newspaper in their hands yelling at the top of their voice “hear ye hear ye get the latest good news.“ What is our good news? Is it not, “Jesus Christ is risen today!“ Teilhard de Chardin states it is well as he says, “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God!“ The early Christians did not go about asking nonbelievers or pagans “do you believe in Jesus Christ or come to church with us” (thought that’s not a bad idea) their lives so enthusiastically and inspirational permeated to the very core of what they believe, what they embraced, and what was so exciting, that nonbelievers wanted to become part of and join their group. They wanted to go to their church and share in their life of fullness LIVING in the risen Jesus Christ! The great Catholic theologian and scientist Dr. Teilhard de Chardin sums this very well by saying, “the quintessential good and beauty in life is what each has to offer to others valuing the gesture ourselves into confluence with the word of God…..and the most satisfying thing in life is to have been able to give a large part of oneself to others.“

– Tim Lynch, Ph.D

Parents of students in Religious Ed participating in virtual learning, please pick up your child’s book and instructions for the online portal at the Religious Education office Sunday after the masses or the week of Oct 19th– 23rd during office hours. Please contact the office for more information.

Classes will be starting for Kindergarten through 5th grade on Sunday, October 11th and 6th through 8th grade on Wednesday, October 14th.

Class times are as follows: Kindergarten – 5th : Sunday Mornings from 9:30 am to 10:40 am and 6th – 8th Grade: Wednesday evenings from 6:00 pm to 7:45 pm.

Registration forms and additional information can be found on the Religious Education webpage (or at the main office and the Religious Education office).

Please contact Cyndi Sabatino for more information (615-338-3910).

For nearly forty years, Our Lady of the Lake has been twinned with St. Bertin in Petit Bourg de Port Margot, Haiti. Thanks to the generosity of OLOL parishioners, we have provided faithful financial support and needed services for St. Bertin, including:

  • Support for St. Bertin School, making it possible for 750 students from preschool through high school to receive a quality education,
  • Medical and dental support and eyeglass clinics,
  • Sea Container shipments of needed supplies,
  • Help for the poorest of the poor through St. Vincent de Paul Society,
  • Other important projects, including solar panels and electricity, sanitary latrines, food distribution, etc.

Since 2001, more than 100 parishioners have traveled to St. Bertin to participate in 43 mission trips.

St. Bertin would struggle to exist without the faithful support of OLOL, and they are very grateful for all that we do. The people love their church. They are very spirit-filled and strong in their faith. Sadly, in October 2018, an earthquake severely damaged the church and rectory. Unfortunately, the damage is irreparable and both buildings must be demolished and rebuilt.

Meanwhile, St. Bertin parishioners attend Mass in a crowded make-shift sanctuary in the parish hall. They pray to God for a new church and give as much as they can.

God is calling us to help them. Our desire is to rebuild both buildings, but first we must start with the most important need – the church. The estimated cost to rebuild the church is approximately $400,000. Thanks to some generous donors, we are already on our way to meeting our goal to rebuild the new church. Once the church is built, we will explore the possibility of rebuilding the rectory.

Please prayerfully consider making a donation. Let us show the people of St. Bertin God’s love for them.

To make a donation, you can:

  • Write a check to OLOL with St. Bertin Rebuilding Project on the memo line and mail it to OLOL Mission for St. Bertin at 1729 Stop Thirty Road, Hendersonville, TN 37075; or
  • Give online at ololcconline.com on the “donate” page (https://ololcconline.com/donate/). Scroll down to find the the St. Bertin Rebuilding Project donation link.

For more information, contact Lori Gettelfinger at gettella@gmail.com or 615-260-8372; Diane Huggins at dphuggins@comcast.net or 615-476-2667; or Therese Casler at theresecasler@gmail.com or 615-519-1863.