St. Pope John Paul II
First Sunday of Advent
As guidance and encouragement to everyone, I wish to indicate certain pastoral priorities which the experience of the Great Jubilee has, in my view, brought to light.
First of all, I have no hesitation in saying that all pastoral initiatives must be set in relation to holiness...
In fact, to place pastoral planning under the heading of holiness is a choice filled with consequences. It implies the conviction that, since Baptism is a true entry into the holiness of God through incorporation into Christ and the indwelling of his Spirit, it would be a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a shallow religiosity. To ask catechumens: "Do you wish to receive Baptism?" means at the same time to ask them: "Do you wish to become holy?"
As the Council itself explained, this ideal of perfection must not be misunderstood as if it involved some kind of extraordinary existence, possible only for a few "uncommon heroes" of holiness. The ways of holiness are many, according to the vocation of each individual.
Novo Millennio Ineunte, Par. 29, 30, 31
St. John Paul II is a favourite of ours. As pope, his teachings were clear, direct and unambiguous and his pastoral initiatives were always full of love, compassion and even charm! Many of you might remember the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a year the pope saw as "an important appointment" whose celebration was a "providential opportunity during which the Church, thirty-five years after the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, would examine how far she had renewed herself, in order to be able to take up her evangelizing mission with fresh enthusiasm". (NMI - 2).
Marcel and I remember well the preparations the Church had undergone for 4 years prior to the Jubilee, where one year was dedicated to repentance and the following three to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These had been exciting and blessed times.
However, what many might not know is that John Paul II wrote an apostolic letter at the close of the Jubilee Year, a letter which Marcel and I believe to be brilliant, insightful and also very prophetic. Novo Millennio Ineunte or "Into the Third Millenium" as it is known in English, is a short document filled with pearls of wisdom and contains what we believe to be a blueprint for many more centuries to come.
For the Advent season, we are offering you some extracts from this little jewel of a document in order to bless you and inspire you, but also perhaps to whet your appetite in the hopes that you will wish to read this letter for yourselves.
We hope that your Advent season will be blessed with the peaceful and renewing presence of the Trinity. (Linda - November 28, 2021)