One of the most obvious facts about our world today is fragmentation, separation, people divided into separate, warring, and competing groups. This tragic condition prevails at almost every level of life. We can observe it on a national and international scale.

Today our own nation is at war. Hundreds of thousands of our young men and women are defending our nation on foreign soil. They are putting their lives on the line for our safety and freedom. Hundreds of thousands more are risking their lives to provide homeland security.

Sometimes we speak of this as a crazy world. That is an apt description in light of what goes on.

What this world of ours needs today is someone that can teach us how to live together. And yet in the heart of the Christian message are some basic principles which, if properly understood, would bridge all the gaps and break down all the walls that separate people from people.

We Catholics need to rediscover ways to evangelize, to learn the Lord’s way of winning people back to Him. Evangelism is a deliberate attempt to bring people to Christ by befriending them. As soon as some hear this, they might wonder, “Can that be right? Should we befriend people just to bring them to Jesus?” Absolutely! The greatest reason to befriend someone is Jesus. The greatest gift we can give a friend is Jesus. If we are truly someone’s friend, we want what is best for him or her. What can be better for any man or woman on earth than to come to Jesus?

It may seem like it will take an eternity to help some people accept that gift of Jesus, but, as evangelists, we need to be clear from the beginning that this service demands a lot of time. We need to spend time with people, share our lives with them. To bring them into a personal relationship with Jesus, we must be willing to invest time and prayer.

This can be done by working on natural contacts like neighbors. We normally have many natural opportunities to talk with them and build relationships. The same is true of people at work whom we see on a regular basis. Other natural places for evangelizing is at our children’s school or sporting events.

People who are new to our community – neighborhood, workplace or school – are often looking for a sense of belonging. We should use these natural opportunities to befriend them with the clear purpose of bringing them into a deeper relationship with Jesus.

To the realization of this goal our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has called for a Year of Mercy which begins on December 8. In this Year of Mercy I am asking all our parishioners to pray the Divine Mercy Prayer every day for the people of our parish. I will send out a letter to every registered parishioner and enclose a copy of the Divine Mercy Prayer. Along with this, copies of the Divine Mercy pamphlet can be found in the church. I urge you to take it home and read it. I urge you to pray these prayers each day for peace within our hearts, within our family, within our parish, within our nation and within the world. The power of prayer can and will move mountains. Come Lord Jesus, come!