WASHINGTON (January 2, 2000) -- The U.S. bishops opened the Jubilee Year 2000 with an ad campaign that highlights people's power for good when they realize God loves them.
Stressing "Because God loves you," the ad was slated for the January 2 edition of several newspapers including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and Houston Chronicle.
The ad is slated to run later in the month in the Our Sunday Visitor newspaper, a national Catholic weekly.
Several dioceses across the country also plan to place the same ad in local church and other secular newspapers.
The ad notes that because of God's love people never stand alone. Thanks to God's love, it notes, people can go beyond themselves, ask forgiveness, care for the weak and touch hearts with compassion.
"New possibilities lie before you -- before all of us -- at the start of the third Christian millennium," the ad states. "This is a Jubilee Year of Celebration. This is a time to look at the world and decide how to better serve your neighbor. Thanks to God you can do it! Two thousand years ago the Father sent Jesus his son into the world as the Savior. Now through the Holy Spirit, the power of God's love lies within you."
The ad campaign was spearheaded by the Bishops' Committee on the Jubilee Year 2000, chaired by Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Illinois, and vice-president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Bishop Gregory said the bishops wanted to note the historic moment of the turn of the century and the millennium with the most powerful message they know: that God's love empowers people.
"There is nothing more powerful than God's love," said Bishop Gregory. "It is there for all people, but many men and women do not recognize it. If you think of the person who has loved you most, multiply that love a million times you still haven't reached God's love for you."
"The last century found a culture of death pervading society," Bishop Gregory said. "We have come through the unprecedented violence of world wars and the use of the atomic bomb. Our society has institutionalized attacks on human beings by their loved ones through abortion and euthanasia.
"Although surrounded by people, many individuals today feel depressed, alienated and alone.
"The fear of strangers and the unknown and human weakness have led people to rely on baser instincts and to be unaware that the most powerful force in the world -- God's love -- is there for them."
"We need a national attitude adjustment going into the 21st Century," Bishop Gregory said. "Our first response to life's challenges must not be fear, aggression and self-absorption. Thanks to modern technology and transportation, we are a more global community than ever before. Our obligation is to recognize that the members of God's family stand united in God's love."
"We hope the ads testify to the heart of our faith -- the saving love of Jesus -- and suggest a tone for the next Millennium," he said.