Aug. 14, 2013
These summer days have been particularly exciting for me (After living up here all these years, I came upon my first moose and black bear in the wild!) But that’s not the kind of excitement about which I want to write. I’m speaking about the excitement that comes from meeting people who are passionate and enthusiastic about their Catholic faith.
I have celebrated the Eucharist in several parishes these summer days, visiting our priests and parishioners from one end of the Diocese to the other. I’ve also had the opportunity to join in the annual Knights of Columbus pilgrimage to St. Ann’s Shrine, and celebrate Mass and enjoy a luncheon with another very faith-filled group, the Catholic Daughters.
I am so pleased to have met so many of the faithful in the Envisioning Listening Sessions that have been held in all of our deaneries. My weekly celebrations of the Eucharist and meals with the youth at Camp Guggenheim are especially wonderful opportunities for me to greet young familiar faces and welcome new campers.
These days have also brought sadness—the death of two beloved priests, Fathers James Delbel and Everett Denesha, and the closing of St. Patrick’s Church in Hogansburg.
These have all been inspiring occasions for me because of the passionate faith of the people present. This Year of Faith we have been especially aware of the faces of faith in our midst. We began this Holy Year celebrating the faith witness of St. Brother Andre, St. Marianne Cope and St. Kateri Tekakwitha. We have been reading the faith stories of our sisters and brothers in the North Country Catholic.
I see their faces in my travels. We join the holy women and men who have, down through the generations, walked these lands in the common bond of faith in Jesus Christ.
In his first Encyclical, The Light of Faith (Lumen Fidei), Pope Francis reminds us that “faith is passed on by contact, one person to another…” generation to generation. We rely on one another to strengthen our faith. As the Holy Father wrote, “It is impossible to believe on our own.” I experience, first hand, this reality as I see our parishioners passionately sharing their faith and love of the Church. We open ourselves to the transforming power of God’s Spirit in our lives. We seek to be continually renewed and re-energized in our efforts to follow Jesus. We assist one another on our common journey.
This Year of Faith, the Diocese continues to provide special opportunities to strengthen our relationship with Jesus Christ. We know that the Eucharist is, as we read in The Light of Faith, the “precious nourishment for faith.”
I hope that you will journey with me and our diocesan sisters and brothers in faith to the Olympic Arena in beautiful Lake Placid on Sunday, September 29th at 2:30pm for a very special diocesan event: a Solemn Mass in celebration of the Year of Faith.
We are privileged to welcome His Excellency Archbishop Carlos Maria Vigano, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, as the Principal Celebrant.
Archbishop Vigano’s presence will be a powerful reminder of the significant bond of communion that exists between His Holiness, Pope Francis, and all the members of the Church of Ogdensburg.
We are truly honored that he has accepted our invitation to preside at this special Eucharist. Please mark your calendar today and plan on joining us on what promises to be a perfect autumn Sunday afternoon in our beautiful Adirondacks.Let us fill the Arena with joy-filled faces of faith, all eager to be nourished by so precious a gift as Eucharist.