Hello, friends and followers, and a blessed Lent to you all! This last week and a half was a very busy one in United States Bishop news. Two Auxiliary Bishops were ordained and installed in New York, the new Bishop of Gaylord was ordained after being vacant for almost two years, the new Bishop of Charleston, South Carolina was named, Bishop Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria retired on his 75th birthday and as immediately succeeded by his Coadjutor, Bishop Louis Tylka, and a new Auxiliary Bishop was named to the Archdiocese of Seattle. While all that has been going on, you’ve probably noticed that, while I’ve tried to keep up on updating the list of vacant and superannuated Sees (a big thank you to our website manager John for all he does), as you know, there has been a distinct lack of articles on news and analysis and such, with you last hearing from me on February 25th of 2021. Well, a lot has happened in this past year, (and really since Covid started) which I won’t go into here. I’ll just say, I haven’t had the time or mental space to be able to write as much as I want with my current obligations at home among other factors. I have lost family members, friends, a boss, a professor, been going through financial issues, and in January had Covid. But, thanks be to God, I am still here. And through it all, I am reminded that Christ is still the Good Shepherd who will always go in search of His lost sheep, no matter how often we go astray. And not only is Christ still our own Good Shepherd, He is still the Shepherd and Head of the Church calling us all to holiness.
With all that said, I want to pick things back up again here. How exactly yet, I’m not sure. But, I do want to make some changes and I have at least a few ideas for going forward:
Firstly, I would like to extend an open invitation to any writers who would be willing to join our team, or even those who would like to submit even one or two articles as a guest contributor. While we cannot offer anything financially, we would love to be able to give others who write and have a passion for Jesus and His Holy Church to be able to express themselves in either news, analysis, or opinion pieces. (All submitted pieces will go through a review before publication).
Secondly, the Shepherd's NewsStand will return once again. These are once a week pieces which will include five news stories from that week concerning the life of the Church in the United States in our Dioceses and especially what our Bishops are doing. This way, if there is a week or so that you are not hearing from myself or any of our contributors, we will still be keeping a newsflow going.
Third, the Novena prayers and other prayers will be updated. I’ve known for far too long that they have needed to be updated and shortened to make it more accessible to add to the other prayers and devotions we do daily. It is not meant to be a burden, and so I will go about editing and shortening parts of it. I will also add another section of prayers, specifically prayers to the Bishop Saints, as well, including the Litany to the Bishop Martyrs for the Bishops of the Church Militant, written by Father Thomas Hosington of the Diocese of Withita and myself a few years ago.
Fourth, I want to grow our social media presence. I want to hopefully get more interaction on our social media where things can be discussed in charity and we can pray together. We have: A Twitter account-https://twitter.com/NovenaFor A Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/Perpetual-Novena-for-the-Vacant-US-Dioceses-109038824347138And a Facebook Group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1080336485423565/
If you have not yet followed us on Twitter or liked our Facebook page, or haven’t joined our Facebook group, I invite you to do so!
During this season of Lent, remember to pray especially for your own Bishop. In his homily for the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter given at the Convocation of Clergy of Alaska in the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau, His Excellency the Most Reverend Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, said this:
If people followed Jesus, it was because He was the Good Shepherd. His love for them was beautiful. He was not a moralistic Pharisee; nor was He a Sadducee, who had power at that time; nor was he a guerilla or revolutionary, trying to bring about political liberation for His people; nor was He a contemplative who stayed only in His monastery. He was a pastor, a shepherd who spoke in the language of His people, who spoke the Truth to them in love, who spoke of the things of God, without compromising with the powers of His day. This is the reason why people followed Him: He was authentic; His love was real.
This should be the focus, not only of every Bishop, but of us. To be authentic and real in our love for God and our obedience to the Church founded by His Son and to the successor of the Apostles appointed over us as our Shepherds here in this valley of tears. We have to remember that our Bishops are people too. They are still human. They have struggled through these past two years of sadness and death like we all have. So let us not forget to pray for them and lift them up. Even, perhaps, send an encouraging letter to your Archbishop, Bishop, Auxiliaries, or Diocesan/Apostolic Administrator this Lent. Because, like us, they are also in the desert with Christ seeking to follow Him. Remind them that they are not alone. We need to support them like they need to support us.
I am hoping to have everything in place by the beginning of April at the very latest. In your charity, please pray for me, this endeavor, and all who join us in this apostolate. And let us never forget the words of St. Ignatius of Antioch, “Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church”.
Blessed Lent! God bless you!