Oct. 5, 2016
I wonder if standing at center ice before the puck is dropped at the start of a crucial hockey game in a packed arena is as personally invigorating an experience as standing in that same arena before a crowd of almost 4,000 faith-filled persons eager to celebrate their Catholic faith.
Your shepherd’s adrenaline was really flowing when he welcomed those standing on the covered ice and in the stands (many in the rafters) in anticipation of what the day had in store for each of us.
What led this local Church we love, the Diocese of Ogdensburg, to that Lake Placid event of September 25, 2016?
For many months, so many of the faithful of our parishes have worked diligently on several committees as we sought to meet goals that have been set to address three diocesan priorities.
Guided by Catholic Leadership Institute, these priorities were established by our Diocesan Envisioning Team after extensive discussion, study, and consultation (including feedback from eleven diocesan-wide listening sessions).
You are familiar with our Diocesan Priorities: Creating a Culture of Vocations, Strengthening Faith Formation in Family Life, and Building Parishes with Living Stones. Life in all our parishes - our ministries, services and decision-making now focus on these Priorities.
The last of the time-sensitive goals was accomplished in Lake Placid last Sunday, our Vocations Summit—INSPIRE: Called to Love.
This event has now launched our parishes into focusing our prayer-filled energies, time and resources on these Priorities.
By virtue of our baptism, we are missioned to make our homes, parishes, our schools and our communities places that foster encounters with Jesus.
Think of the difference we can make, if we are ready to allow ourselves to be transformed, re-formed, by a closer relationship with Jesus Christ! Christ-led, Christ-fed, and Hope-filled, each of us is a Disciple in Mission. It’s who we are. It’s what we do: our identity defines our mission, as Archbishop Durocher so beautifully preached at our Eucharist.
There are many individuals to thank for making INSPIRE: Called to Love such a graced-filled moment in the life of our diocesan Church. We are grateful to Father Garry Giroux and his Vocations Summit Planning Committee for their tireless coordinating efforts that oversaw the many details (large and small) that made the day go smoothly.
Diocesan staff members, clergy, religious, and many, many volunteers spent hours making the day such a success.
We are grateful to the Knights of Columbus (local councils, State and National) who made significant contributions to help fund the event.
Additionally, many Courts of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas and other service organizations were so supportive. We express thanks to the many businesses throughout the North Country, as well as family and individual contributors who enabled us to offer this event free of charge.
I am truly humbled and grateful to all who were able to join us for the Summit.
Of course, the true success of the Vocations Summit will be told in the years ahead.
We have been gifted with a day in which we found such joy in our faith as we (young and not-so-young) shared and celebrated being a Catholic Christian up here in the North Country.
The Holy Spirit had a field day!
With much gratitude, I pray that as we now roll up our sleeves and extend our hands and hearts to one another, the Lord will give us a standing ovation for we gave it a shot and scored, all through the grace of God!