November 2018 Four County Cathol;ic
“Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is Good; His Love Endures Forever.” Psalm 118:1
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Thanksgiving season is upon us. A time specifically set aside by the Pilgrims, nearly 400 years ago, to thank Almighty God for carrying them through their first year in a new land. I wish you and your families an early blessed and happy Thanksgiving and share with you just a few of the blessings for which I am thankful.
We are blessed to live in a corner of the world that experiences four seasons. As the leaves continue to change colors, we are fully aware that they will soon drop from their branches high above. This growing and changing life cycle of a leaf is very similar to our own growing and changing. I was reminded of this recently at the Seton Scholarship Dinner where I gave an award, posthumously, to honor a good man, a good priest and a good friend – Monsignor Robert L. Brown, former Chancellor of the Diocese, who passed on to eternal life one year ago. I am thankful for the impact he had in the Diocese and for the time we were able to spend together doing the Lord’s work.
The Seton Scholarship initiative has helped create promising momentum supporting Catholic elementary education in the Diocese in the form of tuition assistance. To be there and feel first-hand the spirit of parishioners, education professionals, clergy, friends and believers in Catholic education, was truly heartening. I am profoundly grateful for the active role so many take in helping one another.
As I looked around the room I realized that Monsignor Brown’s passing ushered in a year of changes and growth. Missing from the crowd were a few ministry personnel who retired this year. They carried out their duties serving the people of the Diocese with a steadfast dedication to the Gospel. And for that I am grateful. I am also thankful to all our ministry employees. They carry out their duties serving the people of the Diocese with enthusiasm, compassion and great skill. And you my dear readers, your prayerful support in time, talent and treasure of our many ministries continues to be an encouraging witness of Jesus’s call to Love One Another. Saint Teresa of Avila, the 16th century Doctor of the Church, whose feast day we celebrated a few weeks ago, put it this way–
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which He
looks Compassion on this world [sic]
And for all of you I am thankful. A big part of a true Thanksgiving celebration is being thankful not just for the blessings we receive, but for the good works we are privileged to deliver to our fellow travelers. Thank the Lord frequently as you journey through this holiday season because thankfulness opens your heart to His presence and your mind to His thoughts. And try not to journey alone. This Thanksgiving, I encourage you to be Christ’s eyes of compassion and seek out one person who may, without your invitation, be spending this holiday alone.
“Our real journey,” in the words of Pope Francis, “is to walk with the Lord always.” My sense is that we can be proud in a humble way that the depth of our footprints bears witness to how we are carrying more than our own weight in step with Christ’s loving example.
We are thankful.
Sincerely yours in Christ’s love,
Bishop Michael R. Cote