Last month, FAITH magazine included a page of statistics about the number of diocesan priests serving in our parishes. As you read, we have fewer diocesan priests than we once did. This month, I want to carry on that conversation and mention some of the other wonderful priests who serve in our parishes. We are blessed with religious order priests and those who come to us from other dioceses who also serve in our parishes. And we receive wonderful service from our senior priests. Now, to be fair, only the diocesan priests are bound to our diocese for their entire ministry.
From the Bishop
By the time you read this, I pray that my nephew and his wife have safely delivered their first child, a daughter. As I anticipate a “great” niece, for whom I will become a “great” uncle (I am sure all my nephews and nieces think of me as “great”!), I am struck by what a “gift” a child is. We celebrated Mother’s Day last month and will honor Father’s Day this month, but my thoughts turn to a child.
“The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator.” That says it all. Humanae vitae, soon-to-be-Saint Pope Paul VI’s controversial encyclical, Of Human Life, began with these words when issued on July 25, 1968, in the midst of the sexual revolution.
My archbishop back in the 1980s told me that I was not everything one would want in a priest. I was not too taken aback, especially when it became clear that this was mostly about my eccentricities, which I leave to your imagination.
However, I have held on to those words because they are true. I am a sinner, and not everything one would want in a priest. As my time with you here in Lansing reaches the 10-year mark, it is a truism that you could say the same about me, “He is not everything we would want in a bishop!”
“The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin.” So states the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (#2241)
St. John Paul, in his 1995 letter The Gospel of Life, touched on this issue, among many others:
Perhaps you have heard the terms “intentional disciple” and “missionary disciple.” What exactly do these mean? The first is probably the easier one both to grasp and to put into practice. Think about it in these terms: I presume dads want to be intentional dads; moms, intentional moms; students, intentional students; etc. If we are engaged in something, we want to make sure we are consciously engaged in it.