Fr. Roger Landry: St. Thérèse of Lisieux and the Renewal of Missionary Zeal

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“To liberate only one soul,” said the Little Flower, “I would gladly die many times over.”

By Fr. Roger Landry, National Catholic Register, 10/15/19

At the beginning of this month, I had the joy to travel to Detroit to preach solemn vespers at the historic National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica on the feast day of the Little Flower. In the canticle for vespers, taken from the Book of Revelation, we prayed how “all nations shall come and worship in [God’s] presence,” which gave us an occasion to focus on Jesus’ call for us to “go and teach all nations” (Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:18-20), sharing with them the treasure of Christian faith and life.

Critical Call

As we approach World Mission Sunday this weekend, the thoughts of St. Thérèse, the cloistered nun who became co-patroness of the missions, can give some important direction for the Church today.

The need for a more effective sharing of our faith cannot be denied.

In the U.S., 30 million people define themselves as ex-Catholics, one out of every 11, constituting the second largest religious group behind those identifying as Catholics. There’s the almost viral rise of the “nones,” those who don’t identify with any religion. There’s the shuttering of Churches, schools, convents and seminaries. There are many U.S. dioceses in which priests ride circuits of several hundred miles every Sunday to try to bring Christ to people. One of the most troubling worries of many middle-age parents and grandparents concerns family members who have stopped going to Mass and living according to Christian faith and morals. ….

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