Archbishop Perez Urges A New Beginning, Filled with Hope: “It is Time to Come Back”
Tuesday’s historic Mass of Installation of Archbishop Nelson Perez as our Archdiocese’s 14th shepherd was one of celebration and joy at the Homecoming of one of our own.
It was a day of inspiration, inclusiveness and Hope in Jesus Christ, the theme of His Excellency’s first Mass as archbishop. And with that uplifting message of “Hope for the World” came a passionate challenge for the faithful throughout our archdiocese that I pray resonates throughout our five-county parishes, including here at
“Wherever you find yourself on the journey, it is time — time to reach out and grab the Lord’s hand, Archbishop Perez urged in his 23-minute homily. “Just as in the Gospel of Matthew (9:20) a woman with a hemorrhage touched the Lord’s garment and was healed, so now “it is time to reach out to him — he is there.
“It is time to reach out, to come back to church, to the Lord in his Word and to the altar.”
As we enter Lent this week on Ash Wednesday – the holy season of prayer, fasting, almsgiving and forgiveness — there is no better time. No better time to begin anew with God, in Whom there always is a new beginning. No better time for all those who have been away and are missed to re-examine where you’ve been, or not been, and return to the practice of your faith. No better time to return through the Sacrament of Penance, followed by the Eucharist, and recommit yourselves to God and your faith.
Perez quoted from Pope Francis’s 2013 apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel” in calling for a “a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ” and “allow the Lord to take the initiative for a church that goes forth as a community of missionary disciples.”
“Disciples”, he said, “who know that the Lord has taken the initiative. He has loved us first and therefore we can move forward boldly, making the initiative to go out to others, meet those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast. That is the vision.”
I invite our entire St. Genevieve parish community to pray that Archbishop Perez’s message will usher in a new era for the church of Philadelphia and that families here and throughout the region will join him in “returning home” to our faith, and to Mass and the sacraments as he returns home as the youngest archbishop in the U.S. and third Hispanic archbishop in our country.
“It is time,” said Perez, standing not far from where he was ordained a priest of Philadelphia in 1989.
I am here to assist you in any way to help you Come Home this Lent, and “Stay with Us.” (Road to Emmaus).
It is time for us to follow Archbishop Perez’s call and help him re-energize our Church of Philadelphia. Before more than 50 bishops, over 500 priests, deacons and religious, he referred to his brother priests of Philadelphia as “us” and said, “I need you.”
Likewise, we as pastors and priests, need you, our faithful and all who have strayed from the flock. We need you to help us–help me– spread a message of Hope and Renewal and help many who have drifted away – their children with them – to return and strengthen the future of our Church.
“The source of our hope is Christ,” Perez said.
My prayer this Lent is that – as Archbishop said — “wherever you find yourself on the journey, it is time.
“Time to reach out and grab the Lord’s hand.”
Pray to Him. Let Him lead you back. There is no greater fresh start. There is no better time than today.
God bless you all, and God Bless Archbishop Perez and Archbishop Chaput.