Cardinal Wuerl Celebrates Mass with Catholic Students from The George Washington University
Monday, October 3, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, celebrated a Mass on Sunday evening with the Catholic students at The George Washington University. The Sunday evening Mass was at St. Stephen Martyr Catholic Church in Washington.
Cardinal Wuerl began his homily by referencing the Gospel reading of the day where the Apostles say to Jesus, “Increase our faith.” The cardinal said, “This is a constant prayer of every believer. When you and I make an act of faith, we do not do so once for all and forever. We are continually renewing it, strengthening it, repeating our resolve and increasing our faith conviction. One of the reasons we recite the Creed at every Sunday Mass is not just to remind ourselves of what it is we believe but to strengthen our belief, our faith. Part of the reason for the need to do that is an understanding of what an act of faith is.”
The cardinal distinguished between knowledge, an intellectual conclusion that allows us to know things because we are able to demonstrate them, and faith, the acceptance of something that we cannot definitively prove by reason alone. “We have to make that leap of faith that is inspired and motivated by God’s grace. That is the reason why we pray, ‘Lord strengthen my faith, increase my faith,’” said the cardinal.
To renew our faith, we must open our hearts as well as our minds, continued Cardinal Wuerl. “We come to Mass Sunday after Sunday after Sunday precisely to let God’s Spirit touch us, to let God’s grace transform us and strengthen us. But there is a second dimension to the experience of faith. Not only do we renew it, we need to stand confidently in its truth.” The cardinal acknowledged that one of the most difficult things to do in today’s very secular world is to stand confident in the truth of what we believe. “And yet,” he said, “that is a part of being a disciple of the Lord, of being a witness to Jesus. We know his words are the Words of Everlasting Life. We know that what we receive passed on in the Church all these centuries later is the truth about ourselves and our relationship with God. We need to be confident enough once we leave this Church building and are in the midst of all our other activities to stand firm in that truth.”
“We must always be proud of who we are,” said Cardinal Wuerl, referencing the Second Reading where Saint Paul says, “Do not be ashamed of your testimony to the Lord.” We are not only to renew our own faith and to stand confident in it, the cardinal reminded the students gathered, but we are called to share it. “We are called to share with others the wonderful Good News that Jesus is risen form the dead, that we have encountered him in our faith and that his way is a better way.”
The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C. and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.