August 2021 Four County Catholic
Be Not Afraid
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Fear is often the default state of human nature, especially when it comes to the unknown. Whether spoken by angels, or the Lord Himself, God, through His Word, assures us countless times to not be afraid.
It has been echoed throughout the history of the Church as exemplified by Pope Saint John Paul II throughout his pontificate as well as locally by my dear predecessor, Bishop Daniel Hart, whose motto was “Do Not Be Afraid.”
Most recently it was the focus of the Holy Father, Pope Francis’ message to the world when he meditated on the calming of the storm during the prayer service on the steps of Saint Peter’s Basilica in his March 2020 Urbi et Orbi address. Delivered at the beginning of the pandemic, he compared us to the disciples in the boat in Mark’s Gospel – “afraid and lost . . . caught off guard by an unexpected and turbulent storm.”
The Gospel informs us that Jesus is sleeping the entire time in the stern of the boat. He is with them, as He is with us. Upon awaking, Jesus calms the waters and then turns to the disciples and asks, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?”
Like the disciples in the boat, we may be fearful of the unknown. Last month, I announced the decision by the diocese to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. While there are still unknowns, let me assure you that the practice of our Catholic faith and our mission to serve others will continue.
Understanding that you have many questions, we are dedicating space in this issue of the Four County Catholic as well as the diocesan website, to answer them.
The Holy Father reminds us of the need to invite Jesus into the boats of our lives, handing over our fears to Him so that He can conquer them. We cannot go wrong by placing our trust and faith in Him. May God’s blessing come down upon us and help us remain united in faith, comforted by the words under the image of Divine Mercy, “Jesus, I trust in You.” You are all in my prayers.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Michael R. Cote
Bishop of Norwich