Witness to Steadfast Faith
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
One of the many pleasures I have in being your bishop is witnessing the numerous acts of faith demonstrated throughout the diocese.
As Christians, we are people of faith. It is faith that sets us apart in service to others and in reverence to life itself. Through this faith, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we accomplish amazing works.
Recently, many of you traveled to Washington DC to participate in the March for Life – leaving the comfort of your homes on a cold winter night to journey by bus to stand for life. All in the hope that your presence would be a witness to the world that all life matters. That is faith.
Your patient attendance, year after year, did not go unnoticed. This year history was made, in large part because of this unwavering faith. For the first time since the March for Life began in 1974, the President of the United States stood with you.
Faith, accompanied by perseverance, can accomplish great things.
I witnessed this in another form when, on January 18th, I watched Very Reverend Dennis Perkins unlock the doors of Saint Michael the Archangel church in Pawcatuck. For nearly a decade, the faithful parishioners and friends of the community have worked tirelessly to preserve and rebuild the church, honoring the sacrifices of the generations who came before them.
This building has meant so much, to so many, for so long. It is, as are all churches, a place where we experience our deepest sorrows and our greatest joys. It is a place where we come together as families to become family. One family in faith.
There remains a long-standing faith at Saint Michael’s. The new structure stands on the original foundation set in place over 150 years ago. A strong foundation it is, both physically and spiritually. The faith and love of this community for the Universal Church is apparent in the number of priestly vocations they have raised-up over the years. In a few months, with the ordination of Deacon Michael Bovino to the priesthood, this faith community will have elevated 19 priests for the Church.
When we work to build up the kingdom of God, it is good for us to remember that we do not accomplish it alone. Saint Augustine when he found himself blessing a church said:
“Let us offer our thanksgiving above all to the Lord our God, from Whom every good and perfect gift comes. Let us praise His goodness with our whole hearts. He it was, who inspired in you, His faithful people, the will to build this house of prayer; He stirred up your desire and gave you His help. He awakened enthusiasm among you who at first were unconvinced and guided to a successful conclusion your efforts of goodwill. So, God, who gives to those of good will both the desire and the accomplishment of the things that belong to Him, is the one who began this work, and the one who has brought it to completion.“
Saint Augustine’s words apply to any good we accomplish, whether it is marching in support of life from conception to natural death, feeding the poor, instructing young people or the various other ministries that we, as a diocesan family, support through our prayers, time and charitable contributions. We are able to accomplish so much when we allow the loving hand of God to guide us.
As we approach Lent, may the spirit of sacrifice, so central to this Holy Season, provide us a fitting connection to the giving efforts of all engaged in lifting lives. Please never for a second underestimate the good you do for others.
I pray that God may strengthen your faith this Lent and that you will be a witness of steadfast faith to others. Sincerely yours in Christ’s love,