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State Chaplain 2018 - 2019

Picture of Rev Kenney St. Hilaire

Rev Kenneth St. Hilaire
May 2019

Happy Easter! I hope your hearts and homes are filled with the joy of the season.

I listen to Sacred Heart Catholic Radio quite a bit when I’m in the car, and I particularly enjoy the call-in programs. It’s interesting to note that many of the callers’ questions (and not infrequently entire shows) pertain to the afterlife. What happens when we die? What is purgatory like? What is the Last Judgment? These kinds of questions may be on our minds as we have just recently observed the Sacred Paschal Triduum and are thinking about resurrected life.

The French poet Charles Péguy imagined that when we arrive at the gates of heaven, we will be asked: “But where are the others?”

He has an important insight here. He “zooms out” from what we usually consider to be an intensely personal experience (i.e., God’s judgement of our soul) and reminds us that salvation is not just an individual matter. God didn’t just put us on this earth for us to tend to our own salvation; He wants us to be instrumental in bringing many others to heaven along with us.

I love how, in the Masses during the Easter season, we hear so many passages from the Acts of the Apostles. I’m always inspired by the zeal and confidence of those who were witnesses to the Death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Think of Peter and John encountering at the Beautiful Gate the man who had been crippled from birth. “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk,” Peter says (Acts 3:6). And the man rises and walks.

So many Catholics--and Christians in general--have zeal for living their faith personally, but not much interest in talking about it with other people and encouraging others to consider becoming Catholic. Religion has widely become a taboo subject; it’s considered polite to avoid speaking about it if you want to maintain relationships with people with differing religious views.

In many cases, Catholics are afraid to speak about matters of faith even with family members for fear of “rocking the boat” or facing estrangement. Others feel like they can’t articulate their faith well enough to explain themselves clearly, so they prefer to avoid the topic altogether. I suppose some are just shy.

More and more, though, it seems like Catholics are adopting the relativistic attitude that much of the world has adopted: “You believe what you believe, and I believe what I believe, so let’s just leave it at that.” Faith has become a private matter, when Jesus wanted it to be something shared by everyone.

Brother Knights, let’s look to the Apostles for a strong model of evangelization. Let’s not be afraid to invite others into an encounter with the Lord. All our charitable works are aimed at this encounter, but let’s not use the old adage, “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary use words,” as a crutch. Our works are, of course, an indispensable part of our Christian witness, but we shouldn’t shy away from any opportunity to speak about the Lord.

“Where are the others?” They’re still out there, waiting for us to take them by the hand and help them along the path of faith. By God’s grace, let us proceed!


 Fr. Kenneth St. Hilaire

State Chaplain