Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
"A message from Bishop Cupich"
by Bishop Blase J. Cupich
(From the January 16, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)
There is a new energy in the life of the Church today, an energy that I experienced when I was first ordained, an energy that was part of the Second Vatican Council. We sense it. The world senses it. When talking about the Church, the topic on people’s lips is what Pope Francis is doing. People from all faiths, or none, are very excited by how his deeds match his word, how he is witnessing to the Gospel not just preaching it. He is tapping into a religious vitality that has always been there, touching human hearts with the hope that spirituality not materiality is what defines us.
All of this is taking place as we mark the beginning of our second century as the Diocese of Spokane. Admittedly, our centennial celebration is an invitation to recognize the sacrifices of those who have gone before us. They built our faith communities, churches and schools, established our charitable works and hospitals. But, it is also a moment once again to read the “signs of the times,” as the Second Vatican Council put it. This means being attentive to how Christ is actively moving us to take up the challenge of the Gospel in our time, for that is how we can best honor those who sacrificed so much for us.
These signs are all around us: The Know, Love and Serve initiative to revitalize our parishes, the ordination of a number of new priests this coming June, the reinvigoration of our Catholic Schools and youth ministries, our outreach to the poor and the stranger and so much more, all reveal that Christ is alive in our midst, inspiring us to make our sacrifices in this time to carry on His work.
For generations now, Catholics have joined together in common sacrifice for the greater good, which we call The Annual Catholic Appeal. The generous response over the years to the Appeal has allowed us as the Church in Eastern Washington to approach the future with boldness and imagination, undaunted by the formidable challenges we faced. In our day, as we listen to the clarion call of Pope Francis to mobilize us into action once again, and plan for our next century through the Know, Love and Serve pastoral planning process, the success of the Appeal is all the more urgent.
Indeed, there is a new energy in the life of the Church today. We sense it. The world senses it. Let us embrace the moment before us as an invitation to begin again at the start of our second century, by partnering together as did our ancestors, by planning and sacrificing for the future. If we do so, a successful Annual Catholic Appeal in this, our centennial year, will make our ancestors proud and leave our children with a legacy that inspires.
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