Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Saying farewell to Bishop Thomas Daly

by Mary Quilici Aumack

(From the May 21, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

(IR photo by Clarisse Balistreri, courtesy of The Valley Catholic, Diocese of San Jose)

(This article originally appeared in The Valley Catholic, published by the Diocese of San Jose.)

Change: Necessary, inevitable, bittersweet, hopeful, filled with opportunity.

We recognized all these aspects of change as we celebrated with a beautiful Mass Sunday, May 3, as we bid farewell to our auxiliary Bishop Thomas Daly. And how fitting that we gathered around the table of the Eucharist, at once celebrating our faith, and our gratitude.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph in San Jose was filled with well-wishers: clergy, seminarians, Religious, lay leaders, and parishioners from across the valley.

The readings could have been handpicked for this celebration. In a passage from the Acts of the Apostles, we were reminded to “speak out in the name of Jesus.” In his letter, St. John encouraged us to “love in deed and truth.” In the Gospel of John, Jesus told the beautiful parable of the vine and the branches. It is a simple message of interdependence leading to abundant fruit. Jesus is the strong and ever present vine that gives life to us, and supports us in our faith journey, ministry and outreach.

In his homily, Bishop Daly expanded on a pastoral theme. Here in this beautiful valley, where vineyards enhance our landscape, we recognize the gifts of soil, sun, and precious water, to be treasured and tended. The same is true of the gift of sacraments. Particularly in the time of first Communion and Confirmation, we give thanks and praise for our sacraments and the grace that accompanies.

Bishop Daly reminded us that Jesus didn’t ask us to be successful, but rather to be fruitful. Fruitfulness takes patience and strength. It is rewarded with grace, and effectiveness in our ministry.

He encouraged us to nurture both our personal relationship with Jesus the Christ, and our involvement in our community of faith. When asked by high school students why they couldn’t simply “be in nature with God” instead of going to Mass, he reminded them of the deep sustaining value of community, and the help that the Church can be in our struggles and our joys. We are called to be both spiritual (the vine) and religious (the branches). Harkening back to the passage from Acts, he stressed the equal importance of individual quiet time with Jesus, and outward actions of mercy and compassion, always recognizing the need to be part of something larger than we.

He reminded us that we are called to witness. Witnessing as an individual is powerful; witnessing in community is beyond measure.

For those struggling with faith and commitment to the sacraments, Bishop Daly encouraged us to “seek with a sincere heart.” Fueled with a desire to grow closer to God, we can be the body and blood of Jesus in the world, the fruitful branches bearing the fruits of mercy, compassion, activism, advocacy and prayer.

I am pleased to have gotten to know Bishop Daly. Here’s what I will remember of him:

• Commitment to Catholic education.
• Deep devotion to Mary.
• Support of the Religious.
• Passion for vocations and love for the seminarians.
• Reminders to do two things each day:
– Start with a prayer of deep gratitude, and
– Take up your cross to walk with Jesus.
• Enjoyment of a good debate.
• Comforting, abiding faith.

The Easter season celebrates change and transition. We renew our commitment to “get things straight” with God and one another, and we rejoice in the hope and promise of the Risen Jesus.

Bishop Daly’s favorite New Testament writer is Luke. One of my favorite passages is this:

“For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened” (11:9).

Dear Bishop Daly: We know that change is never easy. As this new door opens to you, we pray that you will be warmly welcomed by the Catholic community of Spokane, and that you bring them joy, hope and a renewed and passionate commitment to sacrament, Word, and deed. Take a piece of us with you. You will always be in our prayers.

(Mary Quilici Aumack is Executive Director of the Catholic Community Foundation of Santa Clara County, Calif.)

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