GOSPEL DAYSThe Gospel Day has an eminent place among the ways of propagating God's word. It is also known as Divine Teacher Day or the Good Press Day.
Introduced recently, it was welcomed in several dioceses and in very many parishes. Everywhere it regenerated enthusiasm for Jesus Christ and his Gospel, reawakened the faith and produced consoling fruits of Christian life.
It is the day of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, the Divine Teacher: "You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right for so I am."1 It is an honoring the Word of the Father, eternal Wisdom, the beloved Son to whom everyone must listen.
There is a battle between the truth, Jesus Christ,
and lies, the devil. The world is separated into two schools: the school of Christ and the school of the devil; Christ sends out his apostles but the devil has very many representatives.
With this "Feast of the Divine Teacher" we intend to gather in solemn assembly around this Teacher and to make an explicit declaration to heed him because he and he alone has the words of life: "You have the words of eternal life."2
The teachings of Jesus our Teacher can be spread by the spoken word and by the press. Both are powerful and effective means but often people's malice perverted them and turned them against God, their Author.
The press apostolate, like the word apostolate, needs to be brought back around the altar and the tabernacle; linked up anew with the Mass and Communion. In the Mass the priest reads and kisses the Gospel, then receives Communion, and in the Mass the Church wants the priest to preach and to distribute Communion. Let us return to the sources! Only in this way shall we have complete worship, with people nourished in mind, will and heart! Only in this way can we truly love the Lord with all our heart, all our strength and all our mind.
How useful this Feast of the Divine Teacher is in which we intend to make known Jesus Truth!
This feast consists of one or more days of prayer and study and the distribution of the Holy Gospel so as to honor Jesus Christ, our Divine Teacher. The aim is to bring the Gospel into every family, have people read it and put it into practice.
In actual practice it is carried out in accordance with the program decided on by the local Church authorities.
Nonetheless, for those who want a detailed program for practical purposes, we would suggest the following.
Remote: by word of mouth, printed material, spiritual and organizational preparation.
By word of mouth: the people are to be told about it several weeks beforehand.
Printed material: distribution of books, pamphlets, posters and flyers suited to this purpose.
Spiritual: there is to be a particular appeal for prayer for the feast's success; seek out the help of prayerful people, the sick, the suffering, the lowly; suggest frequenting the sacraments.
Organizational: a committee is to be set up under the auspices of Church authority to work for the success of the feast. In particular the aim of said committee would be to have
the Gospel in every family; to collect all bad books, periodicals, newspapers and press and, as homage to the Truth, to destroy them. In small centers the pastor himself can see to this.
Proximate: this consists of a triduum of preaching to be organized in the following way:
- In the morning: solemn exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and of the Gospel (on the altar in cornu Evangelii [the Gospel side]), meditation on the eternal truths;
- in the afternoon: a talk and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Adoration is to be continuous and made in turn by groups of men, women, young people and children.
The topics for the meditation can be the Eucharist, viaticum for eternity; Judgment, Eternity. Or develop the following thought: humans, created for heaven, lost their way. Jesus Christ became for them Truth - Way - Life. He showed them once more the way to heaven, he taught them how to travel this road and to merit the grace that makes them capable of reaching eternal glory. At the end of the world Jesus Christ will return to judge the good and the bad; he will lead the good into eternal glory and cast the bad into eternal fire.
The talks in the evening could, instead, deal with the following topics: the duty of every Christian to heed the doctrine of Jesus Christ, to follow his example and to live his way of life.
Instead of the above, the following topics could be treated:
1. Jesus Christ is our sole Teacher. He is a Teacher by nature, by the will of his Father, and because in his earthly life he showed himself to be such. The Church continues, in time and space, the teaching of Jesus Christ. But it is hampered in its work by the "inimicus homo"3 who sows darnel by means of the press, through talks, the school and tendencies hostile to the Gospel. The effects of the teaching of Jesus Christ and of the Church are verified in the world (conversion and civilization), in people (salvation and holiness), in eternity (Paradise for those who listen, Hell for those who do not).
2. The two standards: With respect to the teaching of Jesus Christ, people are divided into two great armies: the disciples of Jesus Christ and those of Satan. Which standard do we follow? Practical examen on our love for the doctrine of Jesus Christ, our thinking and acting with the Church, religious instruction, good reading. The need to abhor the school of Satan and to adhere firmly to that of Jesus Christ: "You cannot serve two masters at the same time."4
3. How to take sides with Jesus Christ: Declina a malo:5 how to know the emissaries of Satan; how to atone for those who have followed them; how to avoid them in future. Fac bonum:6 to know, love and live out the Gospel. Choose
resolutions and the means of perseverance: watchfulness and prayer (Mass, Confession, Communion).
God's word, then, is not to be the reserve of a particular group of people but belongs to all. Still, you can have special conferences for members of Catholic Action, for pious Associations or for particular groups of people: men, women, youth, and children. Actually you should have a particular concern for these latter groups.
Suitably prepared lay people may also help the priest with talks. Their style should not, however, be that of teachers, but of true disciples of the one Teacher, Jesus Christ.
In the hours of adoration have the people pray that due recognition be given to the teaching of Jesus Christ and of his Vicar, the Pope; have them pray for the apostolate of the word and of the press.
The celebrations are to be welcoming; adorn the church and the altar in a festive setting. Give the faithful ample opportunity for the Sacraments of Confession and Communion.
Having prepared people by way of the triduum, it will be easy to organize the feast.
Morning: Mass with an exhortation prior to
general Communion; solemn Mass with sermon to fit the occasion; exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and of the Gospel.
Afternoon: Hour of solemn adoration to be concluded with a sincere resolve to be part of Christ's school, to be at one with his diligent disciples, to draw closer to the Divine Teacher by means of the veneration, the reading and the spread of the Gospel, and by frequenting Mass and Holy Communion.
A fitting closure to the day is the blessing of as many Gospels as there are families in the parish; the distribution of these to the head of each family; the kissing of the Gospel, previously enthroned during the triduum and on the feast, with the following solemn protestation:
- to acknowledge, to love and to follow Jesus Christ and his Church, guardian of his doctrine;
- to renounce all teaching contrary to the Gospel;
- to read the Gospel and to keep it in a place of honor;
- to take part in the parish religious instruction;
- to see to the religious instruction of one's children and relatives;
- to disseminate the Catholic press in every way;
- not to frequent the showing of immoral films.
The ceremony closes with Benediction.
The following may also be incorporated into the above:
- distribution of the Gospel to families unable to receive it in church;
- registration of the participants in the "League of daily reading of the Holy Gospel";7
- creation of the Group or Section of Cooperators of the Apostolate of the Press; that is, an organized group of lay people who commit themselves to cooperate with their pastor in the spread of the good press;
- an offering collection to make the Gospel available to the poor and to help the Apostolate of the Press.
1 Jn 13:13.
2 Jn 6:68.
3 * Cf. Mt 13:28: "An enemy has done this...".
4 * Cf. Mt 6:24.
5 * Cf. Ps 37:27: "Depart from evil..."
6 * Cf. Ibid.: "Do good..."
7 For information, write to: Pia Società San Paolo, Rome.