June/July 2020 Four County Catholic
Discerning the Will of God
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In recent weeks we have all experienced life in a way far different than most of us could have imagined. Most of Lent, Holy Week, the Easter Season, the Ascension of our Lord, and Pentecost were spent physically absent from each other and our parish families. I am greatly inspired by the various ways our church communities have found to remain connected to each other.
Springtime is traditionally the season for celebrations. The pandemic has affected how and when we celebrate. Religious milestones in the sacramental life of our church – First Holy Communion and Confirmation – were postponed. Marriages and Graduations, if not postponed, were celebrated in a different way.
Mourning the loss of these highly anticipated events is natural. Our expectations can truly be a burden. I am reminded of Saint Ignatius’ counsel, “We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one.” This radical concept of detachment leads one into an interior freedom. Simply put, our goal is the freedom to choose to follow the will of God, no matter what the circumstances.
We have the opportunity to embrace this moment in history and make it a time to cherish. I encourage you to continue to be creative; making memories that your children, someday, will look back upon fondly.
We now find ourselves back in Ordinary time, liturgically speaking.
Ordinary time refers to those periods that fall outside of the major seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter. The etymology of the word “ordinary” comes from the Latin word “ordo” which means ‘numbers in a series’, referring to the numbered weeks of ordinary time. Ordinary time is far from ordinary. This year especially, because it is during Ordinary time, that our slow, phased approach to public worship will begin.
The 33 weeks of ordinary time contain the remaining occurrences of Jesus’s earthly ministry and some of the major events in His life. In the readings of Ordinary time we discover the parables, the calling of the first disciples, the Beatitudes, and of course the miracles. It is in Ordinary time that the blind see and the deaf hear.
Ordinary time IS a time to celebrate. One such celebration for the entire Diocese will be the Ordination of Deacon Michael Bovino, Saturday, June 27, 2020. This event will be Livestreamed from the Cathedral, allowing every person in every corner of our Diocese to witness this blessed moment, not only for Deacon Bovino but for our entire Diocesan family of faith.
I would also like to acknowledge the Class of 2020. Their perseverance has carried them through a challenging time. Celebrating their accomplishments, I extend my congratulations to our eighth grade, high school, and college graduates.
I pray, as I am sure all of you do, for their success in all future endeavors. The pandemic has compelled us to recognize how little we have under our control. Once we accept that realization, we may finally be able to, as Saint Paul informs us, “discern what is the Will of God . . .”
I pray that you continue to stay safe and join me in praying that those suffering with COVID-19, those caring for them, and their family members, are given the strength to overcome this terrible disease.
Sincerely yours in the healing power of Christ,
Michael R. Cote
Bishop of Norwich