So what is Great and Glorious all about, and what's so great and glorious about it. Let me begin by introducing myself, I am a priest of the Diocese of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada. Among many of our young priests and seminarians, our diocese is affectionately referred to as the "Great and Glorious Diocese of Hamilton". However, even though that may be the origin of the title, this blog will not be focused on my diocese.
Our beloved former pope, Servant of God John Paul, the Great, in his Apostolic Letter, Novo Millennio Ineunte, put forth the call for a "New Evangelization", a call to bring the work of evangelization to those countries which were evangelized many centuries ago. By extension, this work of evangelization needs to include those people who may be Christian by baptism, but have never really embraced or practised their faith, and have never encountered Jesus Christ in their lives. The pope notes, quite observantly, that the need for this new evangelization comes from the lack of a real Catholic or Christian culture in our modern world. In generations past, I don't think people were particularly holier than people are today, I don't think people were necessarily more knowledgeable about scripture and theology than people are today. So why is it that in generations past so many more Christians were in Church every Sunday, and practising their faith throughout the week, because there was a culture that supported them. People had developed customs and practices that allowed them to live out their faith concretely in everyday circumstances. Now that the culture has shifted, and become much more diverse and secular, most of those customs and practices have all but disappeared.
Many people who know me, know that my mind tends to be a storehouse of arcane and little known facets of Catholicism, and so my purpose for this blog, is to be about Catholic culture. Which is a bit of a round-about way of saying that this blog will most likely be a bit of a hodgepodge of Catholicism, from liturgy to spirituality, old customs and new traditions. It's my small effort to share the richness of the Catholic Christian faith, for those who may know very little about it but want to know more, and for those who may be faithful Catholics but want to continue to deepen their knowledge and practice. I hope in some small way to share the faith that has meant so much to me, and the person at its centre and summit, our Lord Jesus Christ. While we may not see a true Christian culture again, at least in our lifetime, as Catholic Christians I think we do need to maintain our own distinct culture and traditions, we need to maintain a real Catholic identity, if we are to live our faith for more than an hour a week, and if I can be some small help in that effort, I can think of nothing more great or glorious than that.
At the outset, I wish to dedicate this blog to the patronage of Our Lady of the Annunciation, the patroness of the Diocese of Hamilton. Mater viventium, ora pro nobis!