Patrick and Mary Tschumper stood in the late afternoon glow at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis Oct. 14 hoping to fan into flame their faith.
Positioned in a pew near the front, they lit candles and listened to Archbishop John Nienstedt kick off the Year of Faith proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI with a vespers (evening prayer) service.
The Year of Faith began Oct. 11 and will conclude on Nov. 24, 2013, the feast of Christ the King.
“Given the current climate that we’re in politically and morally, it is extremely important that we express and share our faith and support our archbishop and the Holy Father through our visible presence, which is why we came today,” Patrick Tschumper said.
The two, who belong to St. Augustine in South St. Paul, are trying to instill that faith in their 10 children, in part by praying the rosary daily.
They also are offering up novenas for the upcoming elections.
It is this type of action that Archbishop Nienstedt is encouraging for the Year of Faith.
“Into the darkness about us, the light of faith, renewed and rediscovered, must shine, providing the hope for a more secure and stable future,” the archbishop said.
“And, it is we, the faith-filled disciples of new evangelization, who must bear witness to this light in ever more effective and convincing ways. And so, you and I gather here to pray. For, as Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta assures us, the fruit of prayer is faith. If we pray, she says, then we will believe. And if we believe, then we will love because the fruit of faith is love. And, the fruit of love is service.”
The archbishop also spoke about the cornerstone of salvation — faith in Christ.
“How we are being saved is really the primary purpose of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans,” Archbishop Nienstedt said. “The community of believers to whom he was writing was a mixture of Jewish Christians and Gentile converts. . . . In the end, St. Paul asserts that God will judge both Jew and Gentile alike by the same standard, and the key to God’s acceptance and the salvation of both groups is the awesome gift of faith.”
Along with this message of faith, the archbishop also wanted to drive home the importance of sharing that faith with others.
That is a key element of his recent pastoral letter, and it will be a message he continues to deliver to Catholics in the archdiocese throughout this Year of Faith.
“What the world is in particular need of today is the credible witness of people enlightened in mind and heart by the word of the Lord,” he said, “and capable of opening the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and for true life, life without end.”