In these past seven years, I have grown fond of the priests, religious, deacons and laity who make up our local Church.
You inspire and impress me by your dedication and in all you do for others. As I travel from parish to parish and from school to school, I meet so many people who give of their time, talent and treasure to carry on the work of Christ.
Paul spoke with affection for his co-workers who collaborated with him in his ministry. I see in our Diocese people very much like Titus, Timothy, Aquila and Priscilla: people of faith who make this bishop mighty proud and grateful.
As we begin another year together, I hope you know the respect and regard I hold for you.
Paul exhorts his communities to be joyful, to be thankful. For Paul, joy and gratitude are earmarks of a disciple of Christ. Yes, we face challenges. Yes, we sin and fail. Yes, we do not always live up to our calling as disciples.
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Yet, as we begin another program and activity year, we can reflect on our many blessings, foremost of which is the gift of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul saw everything not of or in Christ as unimportant, as loss. Knowing Christ brings us joy despite suffering, struggle and disappointment. Knowing Christ is the blessing that moves us to give thanks. How precious is the gift of faith!
I hope this year that we might witness to joy and gratitude. Our Holy Father has said often in his short pontificate and during his recent visit to the U.S. that faith is not a series of prohibitions, a list of “don’ts” or a wagging finger. Rather, faith gives expression to joy, to a profound sense that all of life is blessing and gift.