January 2021 Four County Catholic
A Beauty in Broken Things
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I recently saw a photograph of a broken piece of pottery that had been repaired by filling in the cracks with a mixture of lacquer and powdered gold. The process is called Kintsugi or “golden joinery". The result was magnificent. Rather than discarding the broken pot or disguising the repair, the brokenness was illuminated.
This image of a broken pot, being made into an object of beauty is what God, the Master Potter, seeks to do for each one of us, when we invite Him into our lives and share with Him our own brokenness. Through His word and through the Sacraments, especially Reconciliation and the Eucharist, we are given the grace that will transform us into the works of art that we are meant to be. Our “cracks” when filled with the love of Christ make our lives into objects of beauty to be shared.
Once we see ourselves and our lives in this way, we can then begin to see others and the world in the same way.
A commentator on a national news program this week characterized 2020 as the worst year –– ever, listing all the circumstances that led to this distinction.
A focus on the negative aspects of the year is not what we, as Christians, aspire to. It is important, however, to acknowledge the great price we have paid in the past 12 months. As a spiritual family we stand together, in continuous prayer for the loved ones lost. We uplift our neighbors, those whose names and faces we know and those who we do not. Many have endured hardships, and through it all, you, my brothers and sisters, have answered the call, fulfilling your baptismal promise to, “Love one another” by sharing your prayers and gifts with our ministries. So many people have been helped by Catholic Charities and Saint Vincent de Paul ministries through your support. I thank you for your caring generosity.
In the book of Proverbs, we are reminded that, “A joyful heart is the health of the body, but a depressed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22) In that light, let us walk into 2021, celebrating a few of the positive outcomes of the past year.
Although the virus kept us separated physically, we found new ways to connect. Children and grandchildren went out of their way to check in on older relatives and friends, bringing groceries and sharing a smile through a window or from the front sidewalk. Many equipped their seniors with the technology needed to help them stay even more connected.
We as a family of faith used technological innovation to reconnect our local parishes to the holy sacrifice of the Mass. An added, unforeseen benefit of this was evangelization. Those who have been away from the church, and people of other faiths, are experiencing the beauty of the Eucharistic celebration – many for the very first time.
Priests, deacons, religious sisters and brothers, as well as the lay faithful, initiated online prayer groups to experience the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, Stations of the Cross. Online workshops on various topics continue to be viewed and attended by people throughout the Diocese who otherwise could not have made the trip.
The pandemic also brought awareness and increased enrollment to our Catholic schools, which continue to lead the way in advancing the importance of in-classroom education, proving that with faith and planning our students can learn and grow in a safe and healthy environment.
As an added blessing, the events of 2020 also taught us to not take each other for granted. Relying on essential workers, who, working long hours, place their health at risk to serve, feed, protect, care for, and minister to us, we have a renewed appreciation and gratefulness for those among us that we may have previously overlooked.
There were many other positive outcomes to 2020, should you care to look for them. Significant to Catholics is the proclamation of the Year of Saint Joseph by Pope Francis on December 8.
May we implore this great saint’s intercession while imitating his virtues and zeal. His silent example of courage and self-sacrifice is a gift to us all.
I pray that we find the courage to bring our brokenness to God for Him to transform.
May you and your families have a healthy, prosperous, and safe New Year.
Sincerely yours in Christ’s love,
Michael R. Cote
Bishop of Norwich