Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

4/7/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

The cultures which the early first century Christians went into were very much like our own. What was different? The Christians were different!

I continue to read too many depressing accounts of our age, and of the Church, filling the blogosphere. ENOUGH! Some mock the notion of a springtime of the Catholic Church. Make no mistake, I understand their concerns. I am not naive. However, I absolutely reject their cynicism.  I choose instead to be to live in the theological virtue of hope.  We are living in a new missionary age.We are the missionaries.

Fishing for men and women

Fishing for men and women


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

4/7/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Evangelization, new Evangelization, Missionary, Mission, Missionary age, new springtime, Pope Francis, Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul II, traditionalist catholics, evangelical catholic, renewal, charismatic renewal, cursillo, ecclesial movements, opus die,

CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - "So he said to them, "Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something." So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord."

"When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish." (John 21)

My friend Fr Randy Sly, the associate editor of Catholic Online and a priest of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, offered a wonderful homily based the readings for Mass on this Friday in the Octave of Easter. I have known Fr Randy for many years. I was honored to be a part of his journey to the full communion of the Catholic Church.

I was inspired years ago when he laid aside a full and fruitful ministry after having served faithfully for years as an Archbishop of a community in the Anglican tradition. After the establishment of the Anglican Ordinariate, he was invited to ordination. It was an honor to be present at both his ordination as deacon and as priest.  It gave me great hope for our Church. These new Catholic priests are such a treasure and just in the nick of time! 

Fr Randy is what I call an evangelical Catholic priest. He is in love with the Lord Jesus Christ whom he knows personally because he has encountered Him, and continues to encounter Him in a lifestyle led by the Holy Spirit. He also understands that he has been ordained for a new missionary age of the Catholic Church and has rolled up his sleeves, ready to do the work it entails. There are many priests just like him. Their numbers are growing. We need many, many more.

Along with them, there are a growing number of Bishops who have realized that the times we live in require a Church on fire with the Holy Spirit - and that they are the teachers who can light the flame. They are teaching with the kind of compassion, courage and conviction which is desperately needed. They understand that the choice is ours. We can curse the darkness and bemoan the collapse of the culture or we can rise to the hour and set the world of this day ablaze.So, they are sending out the fire of the Spirit to kindle the flame by their words and deeds. 

Finally, there are a growing number of those ordained servants who are the lowest members of the hierarchy, ordained not unto the priesthood but unto service. Deacons are an order of clergy in the midst of the world. We go from the ambo to the altar and into the world - in order to bring the men and women of this world into the new world of the Church. We have a unique role to exercise in the new Evangelization of the Church and in this new missionary age.

Last, but certainly not least, are the growing numbers of renewed members of Christ's lay faithful who are on fire with the Gospel. One manifestation of the work of the Holy Spirit in our age is the growth of the ecclesial movements. We often feature the ecclesial movements on Catholic Online. We agree with the last few popes that they are the finger of God for this new missionary age.

They are for this millennium what many of the movements which became religious communities were for the last millennium. They are the resources, the living stones of which the Apostle peter writes in his first letter (1 peter 2:5) being built up into a spiritual house. It is no accident that these movements are such an essential part of much of what is alive and growing in the global catholic Church.   

Benedict XVI once wrote concerning his first encounters with the ecclesial movements in these words "at a moment of weariness in the Church, at a time when we were hearing about "the winter of the Church", the Holy Spirit was creating a new springtime." Though each of these movements have their unique charism, they also have commonalities. They all invite Christians into an encounter with the Risen Lord which leads them into the mission of the Church, each member in accordance with his/her state in life and vocation. 

The members of these ecclesial movements actually believe that the same Holy Spirit which animated the first century Church is available today to all believers. Of course, they are correct. The growth of the ecclesial movements in the Catholic Church is a testimony to a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit which is fueling a much needed missionary age of the Catholic Church.

Like Paul and Silas in the first millennium, all of these members of Christ's faithful, clergy and lay, are on fire with the love of God. They are ready to "turn the world upside down" (Acts 17:6) with the effective preaching of the Gospel in its fullness, in both word and deed.

I continue to read too many depressing accounts of our age, and of the Church, filling the blogosphere. ENOUGH! Some mock the notion of a springtime of the Catholic Church. Make no mistake, I understand their concerns. I am not naive. However, I absolutely reject their cynicism. 

I choose instead to be to live in the theological virtue of hope.  The cultures which the early first century Christians went into were very much like our own. What was different? The Christians were different! They had a living faith. They showed heroic virtue. They had no time for cynicism. They had a mission to accomplish. So do we!

The Gospel of today's Mass recounts the story of some apostles trained in the skills required of fishermen. However, they were unable to catch any fish. When they responded in obedience to the Lord and cast the net on the proper side, they caught so many that their nets were breaking.

When they stopped relying only on their own skills, stopped complaining about the circumstances, and chose to enter into the stream of living faith, they experienced the miracle. The miraculous provision filled them with awe and drew Peter to an appropriate action. He focused on Jesus and moved toward Him.

In Luke's account, Peter's action was accompanied by repentance, a very evangelical response to encountering the Lord. Jesus tells him, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." The passage ends with the proper response from every disciple of the Lord, "When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him." (Luke 5)

Those words formed the basis of a 2001 letter from Blesses John Paul II entitled "At the Beginning of the New Millennium." He called for a rebirth of a missionary spirit in what he called a New Evangelization. His Holiness Benedict XVI continued the call in both word and deed during his wonderful service in the Chair of Peter.

Now, with our Holy Father Francis, we are witnessing a missionary Pope, perhaps like few in history. He has done nothing but evangelize from the moment he stepped out onto that balcony at St Peters. His words and his actions have set the tone.  There is no doubt in this deacon's mind that he is leading us all to embrace the missionary moment in which we live. He is calling us to live our lives in the heart of the Church for the sake of the world. He is sending us out in response to the command of Jesus to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. (Mk 16:15, Lk. 14:23, Mt. 28:19)   

Jesus Christ is Lord. His salvation is extended to all men and women. The Church is God's plan for the entire world. The early Fathers called her the world reconciled. Through Baptism, we were born into a new relational reality; we now live in the Church for the sake of the world. We are called to love the Church with the affection of sons and daughters because she is our mother.

There is no plan B through which He will save this world. He established One Church through which to continue His work until His return. She has undergone purifications and reforms many times throughout her missionary journey for over two thousand years. Her hull may be battered but she is still the Ark of Salvation.

Church history demonstrates that seasons of purification are usually followed by times of great restoration and triumph for the Church. So it is in our own day.This Church that is called Catholic is not a mere human institution. If it were, it would have shipwrecked long ago.

The Church exists to evangelize and that the essential nature of the Church is missionary. The Catholic Church has always taught that every single human being on the face of the earth has a right to hear the liberating Gospel message of Jesus Christ as fully revealed in the heart of His Catholic Church. That will be accomplished in this hour by you and me, no matter what our state in life, or specific vocation.

We are all baptized into Christ to participate in the saving mission of His Church. However, in order to be able to engage such a missionary task, many Catholic Christians need to be renewed in their own Baptismal faith through a personal and transformative encounter with the Risen Lord. In addition, that encounter with the Risen Jesus Christ needs to be strengthened and secured by solid catechesis in living as a Catholic Christian. This is what is meant by the New Evangelization.

This New Evangelization invites each of us to live our baptismal vocation, completely given over to the work of the Lord, in the heart of the Church. It is meant to bring about an authentic renewal of the Church so that she can then undertake a new missionary outreach to the whole world. Only a Church fully alive in the Lord and filled with His Spirit can carry out such an evangelical mission.

The Church is the Ark, the boat, presided over by the Lord. He is at the helm, steering His redemptive course through time. The Lord of the harvest is calling workers for the New Evangelization and the new missionary age. He is sending us out on mission, fishing for men, women and Nations. He will work His saving and redemptive mission in and through us, because we are members of His Mystical Body, the Church.

I believe we are at the beginning of a great resurgence in the Catholic Church precisely for this new missionary age. Just when her opponents are ready to count the Catholic Church out, the sleeping giant is rising. Along with the needed purification of the Church, the seeds of a new springtime are beginning to sprout.

For example, the fact that the ecclesial movements are flourishing, new and renewed religious communities are growing, new and renewed Colleges and Universities, desirous of being fully and faithfully Catholic, are flourishing, all point to the work of the Holy Spirit. They are the seedbed of vocations, sending out missionaries into every segment of the fields of this age which are ripe for harvest. There is a growing dynamically orthodox Catholic faith and life being manifested among the lay faithful.

The movement of our Anglican friends into full communion, the growing number of other Christians' coming home to the full communion of the Catholic Church, the movement toward the healing of the division between East and West, are all signs of a resurgent Catholic Church and a new missionary age. 

The Lord who birthed the Church from His wounded side on Golgotha's Hill her and died for her is purifying her and renewing her by His Spirit to continue his redemptive work until he returns to bring it to completion. He has been raised from the dead and now walks with our feet. This is the Dawn of a New Missionary Age. We are all missionaries. Let's get to work!


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More U.S.

'No more baby parts': How will Congress deal with the alarming Planned Parenthood shooting? Watch

Image of


A shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado that left three people dead last week is only expected to inflame passions of both sides of the political spectrum - as well as giving lawmakers, returning from their holiday break, ... continue reading

EUCHARISTIC MIRACLE IN UTAH? You won't believe what happened to the Body of Christ when it was placed in water (PHOTOS) Watch

Image of


A miraculous bleeding communion wafer has presented itself at a Utah Church. Followers from the St. Francis Xavier Church in Kearns, Salt Lake City have claimed the sacrament bled for three days after it was placed in water following communion. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

The shocking amount of control El Chapo's drug cartel has across the United States Watch

Image of Mexican drug lord,


Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán leads the Sinaloa drug cartel, which the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports has the most influence of all gangs in the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The DEA released an unclassified report that indicates the ... continue reading

MIRACLES DO HAPPEN: Days-old baby girl buried alive pulled to safety in California Watch

Image of Following the child's muffled cries, police eventually found the girl in a crevice along the biking path. Wrapped in a blanket, covered with a layer of rocks and rubble, the girl was cold - but alive.


While much still needs to be learned - authorities here in Compton, California are gratified to learn that miracles still happen. A days-old baby girl, estimated to be only two to three days old, has been pulled to safety from a riverbed after a passerby heard ... continue reading

Who Needs Advent? I do! Watch

Image of The candle is a symbol of Advent because it is a symbol of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, who is always coming to those with the eyes of living faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Jesus Christ is not just a memory to the Christian with living faith. He is alive in our midst and living His Life in and through His Body, the Church, of which we are members. The redemptive mission of the Lord Jesus continues until He returns. As Christians, we ... continue reading

BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big and so powerful, you won't believe this MASSIVE SHOCKING fact about it! Watch

Image of Obama is the titular head of the world's most nefarious terrorist organization, a title he may have inherited from his predecessor, and that will be passed to his successor.


If you were asked, what is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated in human history, how would you answer? Global warming? Vaccines? The Moon Landing? Entire religions?  (Not that we agree with these). But what would you say? In a moment, we're going to offer an answer ... continue reading

'Black Friday' leaving bruises as shoppers trample each other for best deals Watch

Image of Sales for pricey items such as electronic devices erupt into violence on


Everyone has had their turkey leftovers from the previous day's Thanksgiving Feast - and now it's out the door to the nearest "big box" store in a mad scavenger hunt called "Black Friday," where shoppers trample each other for the best deals then can get just before ... continue reading

President likens Syrian refugees to pilgrims on Mayflower in Thanksgiving address Watch

Image of The president then went on to say that, all Americans must open their neighborhoods, their homes, and hearts to Syrian refugees.


United States President Barack Obama called on Americans to welcome Syrian refugees this Thanksgiving season, who - like the pilgrims that set sail on the Mayflower, were likewise fleeing persecution in their native land. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - ... continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving Day: Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart Watch

Image of Around tables throughout America, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren gather with mothers and fathers, Grandpas and Grandmas, extended family, neighbors and friends to thank God and one another. And then, we feast; not only on the food, but even more importantly, on the gift of the love which informs all family relationships and true friendships, the real source of lasting joy, the love of the God who gave us life and liberty.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Happy Thanksgiving Day. May it be a day for love and gratitude. No matter how difficult the challenges we face as a Nation, we have much to be grateful for. As we give thanks, we will find the strength we need to love even more fully. As we practice regularly ... continue reading

New ISIS video taunts United States to 'bring it on' Watch

Image of While the video is pumping up Islamist State, the fact of the matter is is the group is suffering heavy losses on the ground form allied bombardment, especially since Russia began bombing the group


A new video from the Islamic State is highlighting the high number of U.S. soldiers who commit suicide, in effect to tell the world's last remaining superpower to "bring it on." U.S. President Barack Obama has since dismissed ISIS as "a bunch of killers with ... continue reading

All U.S. News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Prayer For Faith HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, December 02, 2015
  • Pope Francis on condoms, fundamentalism and more
  • St. Bibiana: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, December 02, 2015
  • Parents' Prayer For Their Children HD Video
  • Untrained AirAsia pilots takes blame for 162 passenger deaths ...
  • You won't believe what happened to this pair of infant twins!

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 11:1-10
1 A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 72:1, 7-8, 12-13, 17
1 [Of Solomon] God, endow the king with your own fair judgement, the son ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:21-24
21 Just at this time, filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, he said, 'I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 1st, 2015 Image

St. Eligius
December 1: Eligius (also known as Eloi) was born around 590 ... Read More