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Father Muench Says...

Teaching and showing love

Aug. 31, 2022

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Today, I begin with my congratulations to all who worked so hard to prepare the fantastic anniversary celebration for our diocese – 150 years of the Diocese of Ogdensburg. The anniversary Mass was very special! So many bishops were here to honor us. Cardinal Dolan came to celebrate the Mass and shared memories of his visits here in our diocese. Some of our former bishops who had added so much to our history – Bishop Loverde, Bishop Barbarito, Bishop Cunningham – as well as many bishops from neighboring dioceses, including Canada, and also one of our own priests who is now bishop of Syracuse, Bishop Douglas Lucia.

Today, I would also like to add my congratulations to our bishop, Bishop LaValley. I want to thank him for his excellent homily at the anniversary Mass. He set the tone for the celebration of the history of the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

So, time to begin again. Let us pray that the Lord continues to smile on our diocese. May God continue to send many dedicated priests to bring his love and the presence of the Lord to the families of the North Country.

Let us continue to pray for more talented deacons, for dedicated Religious Sisters, and for the fire of new life and love in our people – the women and men of this diocese, a new life and spirit amid the families of the parishes of the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

Recently, the Gospel reading at Mass described for us a time when someone approached Jesus asking him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” We might all have this question.

I believe as our Church teaches that Jesus came to us as Lord and Savior to save us, and to transform us into the people of God. We believe that Jesus, the Son of God, was sent by the Father to restore the harmony between himself and humanity that had been disrupted by sin. We know that Jesus warned us often that pain and death would be an essential part of his mission. Jesus further expected this same readiness from his disciples: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Jesus makes his mission very clear to us: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Christ’s suffering and death was the instrument of salvation. We needed to b saved from sin and from its damaging effects. He came to teach and show us love.

On that Sunday, I wanted to show in my homily that we as the people of God must be ready to demonstrate our readiness to lead others to our Savior by our prayers and our lives. I like to remind people that at Mass, our first prayer is to look around at all present and to pray for them. On this Sunday, this is my family. Each person decided to come to this Mass on this day, and this unites us in a special way. And so, we must begin as a family, praying for one another.

I believe, though I really don’t know, each time I celebrate Mass, there are present one or more who are there and who need my prayers for them. Someone who is suffering and needs to know that I am ready to support them in prayer. I might add that as a parish, each time we pray together as a community, as a family, we remember all of the parishioners – those present, those not present, the good and the bad, the saints and the sinners. We are all one in this parish family.

Remembering and praying for each other is a necessary part of our dedication as disciples of the Lord Jesus.

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