I cannot leave my last post up without penning at least a brief update concerning the Advent, Christmas, and Easter evangelization effort of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
I can confirm that the Catholics Come Home evangomercials have indeed been running in the Dayton media market. My wife saw one in December. I saw one on New Years Day during the CBS morning show. I saw another one a week or two ago during a Saturday sports broadcast on ABC. The ones that I saw were in full HD video, and were, of course, beautiful. Of the three sightings by our household, each was a different advertisement.
In addition, the Archdiocese made an effort to place in every household that wanted one a copy of Rediscover Catholicism, by Matthew Kelly. I was asked by the president of our Pastoral Council to help hand out copies at mass on Christmas morning. At a nearby parish, the books were made available at the entry to the church after New Years Day.
I heard Mr. Kelly speak at a men’s conference in Cincinnati in the late 90s, and I’ve read one of his other books. I’m about ten chapters into this one. On the inside cover, there is a letter from Archbishop Schnurr referencing "the Nativity of Our Savior in this Year of Faith", so these books were clearly printed specifically for distribution by the Archdiocese, and there is a video on the Archdiocese website in which Mr. Kelly speaks about the Advent, Christmas, and Easter program. The book itself, however, has a 2010 copyright.
I have some quibbles with what I’ve read. The text on the back cover really inflates the author, with phrases like "the voice of one man cries out to the world's largest faith community" and "in each generation a leader comes forth who is able to bring Christianity to life in a way that revitalizes individuals, communities, and the universal Church." In case you were wondering who that one man might be, we're helpfully informed that it's Matthew Kelly.
Before we even get to Chapter One, on page 17, Mr. Kelly writes, "It is disturbing that at a time when millions of Catholics are angry and disillusioned with the Church there has been no sigificant effort to remind Catholics of who we reallyare, no strategic effort to raise our morale among Catholics, no organized effort to remind the world that, for the past two thousand years, wherever you find Catholics, you find a group of people making enormous contributions to the local, national, and international community. . . . The book you are holding (and the campaign to provide free or low-cost copies to every Catholic in America) is the beginning of our attempt to raise morale among Catholics, remind ourselves that there is a genius in Catholicism, and engage disengaged Catholics."
Really? There's been no significant effort until free copies of Matthew Kelly's book were given away? All of the New Evangelization, ecclesial movements, and lay apostolates that we've been hearing about since the middle of the papacy of John Paul II are waved aside and declared insignificant. Surely that was just indelicately worded.
What I've read so far has been mainly motivaional cheerleading. Holiness is being the best version of yourself, and that means doing good rather than evil. But the examples he gives seem ridiculously simple, like choosing between going for a run after work or sitting in front of the television with a beer. The real choices that matter never seem to be so clear, and even in his example, running after work can sometimes be the selfish choice when a loved one just wants to spend time with you.
I'll finish the book, although I'm skeptical. I consider it a Christmas present from the Archbishop. I hope it gets better, and I'm sure I'll at least be a little more motivated to be the man that God created me to be. That, and I'll be able to join in the conversation of others in the Archdiocese who have read the Archbishop's gift.