Saturday, August 26, 2017

Shepherds In The Streets

Shepherds In The Streets

Priests take confession to 16th Street Mall, laypeople help announce Gospel

For the last several years, the Neocatechumenal Way, a charism of the Catholic Church that aims to bring people to mature Christian faith, has announced the Good News of Jesus Christ in public squares across the archdiocese during Easter season. This year, for the first time, the “Great Mission” evangelization project took place on the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver.
Since it’s inception 35 years ago, the 16th Street Mall has remained one of Denver’s top visitor attractions, drawing both tourists and locals to the mile-long corridor that offers a wealth of restaurants, shops and businesses. It was the perfect place for the Great Mission, said Denver priest Father Grzegorz Wojcik, a native of Poland, who was the priest on the Way team from St. Louis Church in Englewood that announced the Good News at the mall.
“It was great … to show [people] the Church is looking for them!” said Father Wojcik, pastor of St. William Church in Fort Lupton. “It showed that even in Denver, a modern city, Jesus Christ goes to them.”
It was the most incredible moment of evangelization that I’ve ever experienced.”
On May 14, the fifth Sunday of Easter, the Great Mission team provided five Catholic priests who offered confession on the mall.
“I’ve never seen that before, that the sacrament [of reconciliation] comes to the street,” said Flora Potter, a member of the Great Mission team who was tasked with holding a sign that said: “Confession is available with a Catholic priest, TODAY.”
“It was the most incredible moment of evangelization that I’ve ever experienced,” Potter said. “Taking the love of Christ to the people on the street. Shepherds, smelling like the sheep!”
Pope Francis is known for encouraging “shoe leather” evangelization and for urging priests to “be shepherds living with the smell of the sheep.”
“As people read the words on the sign their faces expressed awe, disbelief, sadness, suffering, joy, anger, sorrow, delight, disgust and gratitude. I realized that this was true evangelization!” Potter said.
“It was taking God to the streets,” she added, “where people can see him.”
Father Wojcik said the experience reminded him of scenes from the Scriptures where people are going about their daily lives, and, suddenly, Christ appears.
Father Grzegorz Wojcik hears the confession of a young girl during the Great Mission on 16th Street Mall in Downtown Denver. (Photo by Roxanne King)
“Jesus was present right there,” Father Wojcik said. “He was looking for them. He was giving happiness, the opportunity to be free.”
Despite the wealth of willing priests, Father Wojcik said only about 20 people availed themselves of confession.
“The few people who came, despite the distractions of the 16th Street Mall, was amazing,” he said.
“It was a great privilege to make this announcement that changes lives,” he asserted. “How can you live the same after you know that Jesus is right here on the 16th Street Mall, on 16th and Champa streets?”
Most passersby, the priest said, found the evangelization effort curious and entertaining.
“Some stopped for a minute or two,” he said. “Many took pictures, but very few stayed to listen. That was a great discovery: that Jesus is like a spectacle—as if they didn’t need him. There is no time for Jesus—I have to live my life.”
What may have appeared foolish to many people, wasn’t to the evangelization team.
“We were able to talk to students, homeless, veterans living in shelters, people who live downtown who are affluent. Every walk of life passes through there,” said Sue Van Doren, coordinator of the Way’s 16th Street Mall 13-member Great Mission team, which was supported by a community of some 40 people.
“We were announcing the Good News that God loves you and knows you by name,” she said. “There was prayer, singing and dancing—people from our community were speaking to … those on the street. It was really wonderful.”
The effort wasn’t to proselytize or to make new Way members or Catholic converts, Father Wojcik said.
“It was to show the face of Jesus Christ,” he said. “To make the announcement of the Gospel. It was the Church being present, reminding people of the love of God.
“Just like a lighthouse that shines to ships in the sea,” he added, “people don’t have to come in [to the Church], but they need to see Christ [so] they can be saved.”


  1. Diana did you see the news article about what happened to father Rudy Monsignor father Julio and the other one that got fired it shows that Byrnes is trying to get power and David Sablan is calling him pope because of him being archbishop because what did they do write to cardinal filoni for help it shows that Byrnes is a disobedient person who doesn't want to talk to Rome because if he talks to Rome he will get in trouble

    1. Dear God is one,

      Yes, I read it. Like I said.....we need to include Archbishop Byrnes when we pray for our persecutors. He is also persecuting us.

  2. Pdn posted an interesting article... 4 fired for betrayal.....

    1. Dear Anonymous at 10:39 pm, 

      Actually, it should be 3. Monsignor David resigned, so he could not be fired. According to the news, they were fired for insubordination. The insubordination stems from writing a letter to Cardinal Filoni.

      I assumed Archbishop Byrnes found out about the letter when he heard from Cardinal Filoni. I wonder what Cardinal Filoni told him. Was he told not to sell the seminary, I wonder? And if so.....will Archbishop Byrnes obey?

      So much for the year of reparation. Like I said, you do not start a year of reparation with judgments. When you turn against and bad-mouth a brother bishop, this is the example you set your priests to follow.

    2. "When you turn against and bad-mouth a brother bishop, this is the example you set your priests to follow."

      Interesting that you would say that because we all have a moral conscious to follow. Following the example of a hypocrite is exactly what the bible tells us NOT to do. It also tells us that if we have a grievance against someone we should first seek out that person. If they refuse to listen, we take along a witness. If they continue to refuse, we take it to the church, and if they do not listen to the church we are to treat them like a Gentile or tax collector. Which step did these priests take since the article tells us that they did NOT discuss this with AB Byrnes before writing to Cardinal Filoni? And if they did not bring it up to AB Byrnes, did they tell him they were going to write to the cardinal?

      What is the purpose of having an Archbishop, appointed by the POPE, if we can simply call upon the Vatican to challenge his decisions and authority?

      What is the purpose of having councils if the decisions they make can be overridden?

      Doesn't the POPE'S appointment and entrusting of the Archdiocese of Agana to that appointee mean anything? Or are you saying we should question the decision of the Pope himself? Are you saying even a PRIEST can USE a CARDINAL to CHALLENGE the descision of the POPE and over rule his authority to make decisions in the Archdiocese of Agana THROUGH an Archbishop that the POPE appointed for the diocese?

      All of this seems like a manipulation of authority.

      But then again...the question is, why did it have to go that far in the first place?

    3. Dear Anonymous at 9:53 am, 

      You stated: "Doesn't the POPE'S appointment and entrusting of the Archdiocese of Agana to that appointee mean anything?"

      So, where were you when the jungle stood against Archbishop Hon after the Pope appointed him Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese of Agana? Why did you not stand against the jungle then? Where were you when they were calling for Archbishop Hon to go home and threatening him with lawsuits?

      Where were you when Father Mike Crisostomo, Father Efen, and Father Jeff disobeyed Archbishop Hon??? Why did you not say anything then?

    4. De ja vu...

      I remember the story of a local priest who brought his case before a bishop and then brought it up to the vatican. He had a bunch of supporters too. They were angry with the local bishop too.

      And look where we are how the tables have turned.

    5. Dear Anonymous at 10:47 am,

      I agree. Father Paul was removed by Archbishop Apuron, and he took his case to the Vatican. Back then, David Sablan was saying the opposite of what he is saying today. Oh my, how the stories keep changing. Such double standards.

    6. Yep. Good-bye year of reparation. We're just back to where we started.

    7. Dear Anonymous at 11:33 am,

      Like I said, the year of reparation started on the wrong foot. Healing and reparation does not start with judgments....especially judgments made about a brother bishop behind his back and made in public to the media.

    8. The so called year of 'reparation' should be reamed year of RETRIBUTION!

    9. I wrote a post that got edited on the junglewatch blog calling them spoiled brats and wondering why they wanted to continue down their campaign when Archbishop Hon continued to listen and act upon their concerns.

      I asked them why they did not feel the need to show mercy.

      I even supported the RMS and the NCW with anonymous posts about how the RMS and NCW was good for Guam because I trusted and continue to believe that Archbishop Apuron would not support something that would be harmful to the church.

      I also wrote the post about how the deed restriction was like a driver or driver's license restriction, the car the RMS, and the licensing authority and owner the Archdiocese of Agana, supporting your claim that the RMS was always under the control of the Archdiocese of Agana. It may not have been exactly those descriptions but I remember the comment along the lines of: That was a wicked/crazy mindset. Although I don't really understand what was meant by that.

      I also signed the petition against the bill that is now law.

      I have held conversations with members of my family and friends about the situation. Listening and asking questions of those around me in order to better understand what people think and believe about the situation. Is it right? Is it wrong? Why is right? Why is it wrong?

      That is what I did and continue to do.

      I have NOT been silent. I am speaking out about what I believe is wrong and supporting what I believe is right.

      And maybe I didn't speak out all the time, but that does not mean that I did nothing.

      Don't assume that just because I asked the question or stated an opinion that I'm sitting around doing nothing or doing so for no reason at all.

      Like you, I have been challenged. What I said wasn't always right, but had I not said anything, I would not have been corrected.

      So yeah...that's what I've done.

      Why do you ask?

  3. I think AB Byrnes need to take a long hard look at himself in the mirror. He's totally one-sided. CCOG wants Mons.David out and the Archbishop asked him to resign, not cuz he did anything wrong, but cuz CCOG wants him out.

    CCOG don't like the "invitation to joy" sign in front of the cathedral cuz it's from the Way, and AB Byrnes apologized for the sign, which wasn't even offensive. The next thing we find is the sign taken down and placed somewhere else away from the cathedral. Totally one-sided!

  4. Diana, AB Byrnes is doing the right thing firing those disobedient priests that wrote the letter to Father Falini about the property in Yona. It is a sad day when individuals from the Vatican can mingle in our affairs. Just by reading about AB Byrnes, He is doing what is right for the AD. I know he will go to proper channels to inform the Vatican about selling any of the AD properties. What do you think?

    1. Dear 5EE445,

      I think Archbishop Byrnes listens only to CCOG.

    2. Byrnes is the one that's being disobedient and what did they do they did nothing wrong and this is like what happened to Nigeria they were supposed to write to cardinal filoni not to anyone else

    3. @5EE445. I don't know about you, but we Catholics turn to the Vatican if we need help and especially if the Archbishop only listens to CCOG.

    4. Dear God is one,

      I do not see the connection with Nigeria. The problem with the Archdiocese of Nigeria is more in the line with racism. The Bishop of Nigeria is not accepted because he is not local. The 4 priests in Guam wrote to Cardinal Filoni only because they wanted to save the seminary from being sold. This has nothing to do with racism.

    5. You don't see anything by them going to a cardinal who has no business in running this diocese? Thats like having the governor of Saipan calling the shots when there is already a governor here in Guam. If this was the case then there shouldn't be an archbishop in this diocese and filoni should be here.

    6. It does because what did Byrnes say last year about cardinal filoni that he needs to go to him for help like with Japan he even stated
      to go to him

    7. And another reason why it also connects with us is because look at Nigeria and what they are doing protesting because of what he's doing and even priest are going after him just like what happened here priest and lay people are trying to get rid of archbishop Anthony from the archdiocese so is that not similar to Nigeria

    8. Dear Anonymous at 9:38 am,

      The Catholic Church is not a government nor does it operate as a government. The Church is one and there is a hierarchy. The Vatican has every business where the Catholic Church is located. And the last time I looked, there is a Catholic Church in Guam.

    9. Dear God is one,

      Their protests in Nigeria is different. They are protesting because the bishop is not local and would prefer a local bishop. The protest against Archbishop Apuron has to do with greed.

  5. Diane I'm confused. Previously you said the priests here even NEO are obedient to the archbishop. Wouldn't going straight to Fiolni violate that? And you said there is a hierarchy in the church so didn't they violate that?

    1. Dear Anonymous at 3:43 pm,

      Every priest should be obedient to the Archbishop regardless of whether they are RMS priests or not. However, I have always said there are two sides to every story. According to the news report, the 4 priests did not follow protocol. Yet, I have only heard one side of the story. I have not yet heard from the side of the 4 priests.

    2. Which side do you need to read when they were FIRED?

    3. Don't go preaching there are two sides to every story and to wait to say anything when even YOU are quick to assume that anyone who dares to question the motives or actions behind the NCW priests or the NCW is an "enemy" and has no business in saying anything because it's the NCW.

      I asked the question, "Doesn't the POPE'S appointment and entrusting of the Archdiocese of Agana to that appointee mean anything?" because YOU stated that all priests should obey their bishop and because OBEDIENCE is what God asks of all of us. And because YOU said we can CORRECT our priests and bishops. Yet, here we have multiple priests, NCW and non-NCW, who seem to refuse to obey.

      You call out Fr. Mike Crisostomo and Fr. Jeff for not obeying Archbisbop Hon. You even call out Archbishop Byrnes for "bad mouthing a brother bishop". However, when 4 NCW priests go above their bishop without discussing the matter with their bishop, we should wait on saying anything and listen to why they did it. So what, its ok to be quick to say something if it's against a non-NCW priest or non-NCW bishop, but when it concerns the NCW we should wait for what they have to say in their defense?

      Your actions tell me that if you're not in the NCW or if you question the actions of those in the NCW, you are to be treated as an enemy of the NCW.

      Or am I wrong? Can you provide examples of how you were patient with a non-NCW priest or bishop when their actions and/or words did not line up with yours? Off the top of my head, I don't recall you ever remaining silent or calling for patience until you heard their side of the story.

      Fr. Jeff blames the NCW as being in control. You don't question why he says those things.

      Archbishop Byrnes says having Archbishop Apuron back as the "bishop of record" would be a disaster, and you immediately call foul instead of calling for patience while the situation is cleared up and we understand WHY he said it.

      Now we have 4 priests who supposedly betrayed their bishop and you say, let's not jump to any conclusions, I'm sure they have their reasons.

      Why aren't you immediately calling foul and correcting these priests when even YOU agree they should obey their bishop?

    4. Dear Anonymous at 5:00 pm,

      Considering the fact that the Archbishop only listens to CCOG, their side needs to be heard.

    5. Dear Jessica,

      See my latest post:

  6. @Anonymous 8:40, Any member of the Laity can request for help from the Vatican. All Priests should keep their Bishop informed of their dealings with the Vatican. The Vatican should have protocols when dealing with any Bishop or other religious. It is unfortunate that all four priests are members of the NCW. Maybe they felt like the red pope. What do you think.

  7. A priest has no obligation to inform his bishop of dealings with the Vatican. Confidential internal forum.