Bishop Gruss: You have received the power to evangelize

When is the last time you talked to another person about Jesus? 

Bishop Robert Gruss asked this question after First Friday Mass at the Cathedral on May 3.

"Most Catholics do not see themselves as evangelizers," said Bishop Gruss. "They think, 'That is the job of the bishops and the priests.'” 

Bishop Gruss reminded the faithful gathered for First Friday that Jesus commands all of us to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. Bishop Gruss also shared that we live in apostolic times, where God is often marginalized or treated as if God doesn't matter. 

"Evangelization is nothing new," Bishop Gruss said. "It has always been a part of the mission of the Church. In fact, a more intense focus is needed right now. God has been thrown out of our culture! We live in apostolic times, like the first- and second-century Church. We have to live in these apostolic times as the disciples did.

"The call to evangelize is at the heart of one’s call to follow Jesus. It is the very mission of the Church itself, and of every member as well."

Bishop Gruss then encouraged everyone by reminding them that God gives the baptized the grace needed to evangelize.

The Holy Spirit will ignite our faith

"We have received all that we need in order to do this, Bishop Gruss said. "'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses,' Jesus tells us. (Acts 1:8) In other words, when the Holy Spirit comes alive in you, you will have power and you will give witness. This is why it is important to be praying that the Holy Spirit will ignite the faith the Lord has given us.

"As I have sought the Lord in my own life throughout the years, and continue to do so in my daily desire to surrender to the love and guidance of the Holy Spirit, the life which the Spirit has given me is beyond what I could have imagined.

"I still regularly pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I still pray regularly that the gifts of the Holy Spirit that I received in my Confirmation almost 55 years ago are stirred up each day so that they can be used for God’s glory and building his kingdom."

Never be afraid

"We should never stop praying for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit," Bishop Gruss continued.

"The Holy Spirit leads and guides all Christians into the mission of the Church and the heart of Jesus. We must never be afraid to immerse ourselves in the work of evangelization. It is the call of each of us. Our eternal life and the eternal lives of others are dependent upon it."

Susana Roznowski
Susana Roznowski

"Bishop mentioned that 70 percent of Catholics are not coming to Mass," said Susana Roznowski, a parishioner of Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish in Bay City. "He says it’s up to us [the laity] to evangelize and to help. I feel compelled to be Christ-like and to serve my Church— that means the people."  

In closing, Bishop Gruss said, "Pentecost is just around the corner. Let us indeed begin now to pray for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us individually, our parishes, and our diocese – and most importantly, our world." 

He then encouraged the faithful to pray the Novena to the Holy Spirit, from May 10 to 18.

You can join the Novena at any time, even if it is after May 10. Learn more about the Novena and download the prayers.