As Catholics, it is good for us to reflect upon Mary since May is dedicated to her, and we are in the midst of the 100th anniversary of Mary’s apparition at Fatima this year. First, it is always important that we emphasize that we do not adore or worship Mary. We honor her even as her son, Jesus, honors her. She is his mother and our mother given to us by Jesus on the cross. We also pray to her – that is, we converse with her as we would with any close friend, as we would with our mother, which she is. We know she loves us and cares for us. We all can benefit from that love.
From the Bishop
April this year has two weeks of Lent (including Holy Week) and two weeks of Easter time. What can one say to combine all this?! And yet, this is the heart of our faith. As you know, every Sunday we proclaim the Creed. It begins with a short part on God the Father, then there is a very long part on God the Son, then a short part on God the Holy Spirit, and a final short part on our belief in the Church and the presence of the action of God through her.
It seems we are not done with mercy! Pope Francis has decided to continue the fruits of the Year of Mercy even as he concluded the formal jubilee: “The Jubilee now ends and the Holy Door is closed. But the door of mercy of our heart continues to remain open.” (Misericordia et Misera, #16) He wants us to continue to celebrate mercy.
We are standing on two legs! In 2012, our diocese set out on a journey to deepen our discipleship and then transform that discipleship into outreach to those neighbors and friends of ours who are “former” Catholics, that is, to help make us missionary disciples. In fact, one might say that we are never really disciples of Jesus unless we are sharing him and inviting others to know him, and then walking with them along his way.
In October, we in the Diocese of Lansing were blessed to be part of an assembly for the New Evangelization. We were energized by our speakers, and filled with the Holy Spirit in our prayer. If you were unable to attend this wonderful event, I encourage you to visit the website (dioceseoflansing.org/2016-assembly-highlights) and participate in it digitally with your brothers and sisters in Christ. I hope you will find the content there inspiring as you undertake the joyful task of evangelization — this is our call, and was given to us at the moment of our baptism.
By the time you read this letter, we will have held our second Diocesan Assembly, “Called by Name.” We had some big names leading us – Deacon Ralph Poyo, Sherry Weddell and Curtis Martin. But the stars of the two days, Oct. 21 and 22, were a couple of thousand dedicated followers of the Lord. They came to be challenged to reach out to all those out there who have some connection to the Catholic Church but still find themselves outside her doors.