Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Ask the Lordís blessings on all who farm
by Bishop Thomas Daly
(From the July 21, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)
Earlier this month I celebrated the weekend Masses at St. Patrick Parish in Colfax and St. Joseph Parish in La Crosse. The drive from Spokane through the wheat and barley fields always reminds me of just how blessed we are living in such natural beauty in Eastern Washington. Though often small, many of our rural parishes remain vibrant because of the commitment of the farming families who for generations have kept the Catholic faith alive. Having been raised in San Francisco, my experience with agricultural communities was limited to the occasional summer visits to relatives who had almond orchards north of Sacramento. Now as bishop, I have an opportunity to visit and listen to the experiences of many of our families who continue to grow the crops that help feed our nation and world.
Following Saturdayís Vigil Mass in Colfax, the parishioners had a potluck dinner. In La Crosse, we had lunch after the Sunday Mass. During both meals, the conversations reflected the concerns and hopes that parents and grandparents have Ė not only for their own families, parishes, and local towns, but for our country. Their views reflect a humble practicality that no doubts come from lessons learned from years of farming. I sense a greater awareness of Godís Providence Ė that is, just how much our very lives depend on the goodness of God and, appropriately, what follows is a strong sense of stewardship.
Gratitude for the gift of creation, responsibility to care for what has been entrusted to us, and what is required to continue feeding so many characterize their day-to-day existence. So much of the farmersí lives is beyond their control. Variable weather conditions that include the occasional drought years add to the need for patience. This stands in stark contrast to the mindset often found in areas where technological innovation rules the day. There, humankind is the creator, and patience is seen as an enemy of universally accepted doctrine that faster is better. Add to this, the mistaken belief that life is not complete without the constant distraction of instant communication, and it is no wonder that faith in God is frequently absent.
St. Isidore is the patron saint of farmers. With so much of our diocese encompassing rural communities, I am surprised that there isnít a parish in the Diocese of Spokane with him as patron. A married man who died in the early 12th century, he was canonized on the same day in 1622 as the more popular Sts. Ignatius Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila, and Philip Neri. Though certainly not as well known, St. Isidoreís feast day is May 15, and he is also the patron saint of the U.S. National Catholic Rural Life Conference. Let us ask for his intercession and for the Lordís abundant blessings on all who farm the lands of Eastern Washington.
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