Shrewsbury, England, Dec 4, 2018 / 03:01 am America/Denver (CNA).
In a pastoral letter marking the first Sunday of Advent, Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury dedicated 2019 as the diocesan Year of Holiness, calling attention to the Second Vatican Council's emphasis on the universal call to holiness.
“It is this universal call to holiness which I wish all of us, clergy and people, to focus upon anew. It is striking that, amid all the crises of the 20th Century, the central message of the Second Vatican Council was that every one of us, in every state of life, is called to the fullness of the Christian life and the perfection of love: that is, called to become nothing less than a saint,” Bishop Davies wrote.
“Advent is a time of renewed hope leading us to the light of Christmas,” he said. “It is a journey we make in the darkest days of our year. Such days evoke the dark shadows in the world around us, and those failures in the lives and witness of Christians which have at times cast dark shadows over the face of the Church, obscuring for many, the clear light of Christ shining from her.”
He said that “our renewal in holiness” is “the only renewal of the Church which will ever matter … It is why only saints resolved the crises the Church has faced throughout history and why they have proved to be the great evangelisers.”
“It is also why, today, amid the dark shadows of scandal and the challenge of a new evangelisation of western societies, it is urgent to recall this one goal of every Christian life for it is in the saints that the true face of the Church shines out. For, though they can have their place, no pastoral programme; no discussions amongst us; no re-organisation or re-structuring can ever accomplish this; only our striving for holiness to become the saints we have been called by God to be.”