Pastor's Letter - October 6, 2019

We have a beautiful passage from Saint Paul’s second letter to Timothy in today’s second reading: “Beloved: I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.” Paul wrote three personal letters which are contained in the New Testament – two to Timothy and one to Titus – which scholars refer to as the “Pastoral letters”, since they contain instructions on how to be good shepherds (pastores in Latin) for Christ’s flock, the Church. This passage recalls the means by which Timothy was ordained to be the bishop to the Church in Ephesus: by the laying on of hands. These three letters – and in a special way, this particular passage – remain an excellent reminder for all ordained ministers: deacons, priests, and bishops; and a source of encouragement for them in difficult times. We continue to experience the suffering in the Church in the United States brought about by the reported instances of priestly sexual abuse and misconduct in 2002 and subsequently. Though the instances of such abuse in our Diocese have been fewer than in other dioceses, they still constitute a grave harm to the victims and to the whole Church. And the burdens of pastoral ministry, which are already great because of the shortage of priests, were increased because of this public scandal. And yet, this has also brought about needed purification in the Church. The number of seminarians has actually increased since then; and the young men responding to the call to the priesthood seem more intent upon embracing a way of life which gives clear witness to their love of the Catholic Faith and fidelity to the demands of priestly life. Please pray for our diocesan seminarians and for all seminarians. And pray for our Bishop, William Callahan, and all our priests (including your pastor!), that they may “stir into flame the gift of God” which they received at their ordination and that God will strengthen them to be faithful shepherds of Christ’s flock.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has stated, “The promotion of the practice of stewardship is important for the mission of the Church and for the spiritual well-being of each individual Christian. Everyone benefits from the sacrificial gift one makes of his time, talent and treasure.” Will you, now, share your gifts? That is the challenge we face, not just for the next few weeks as we conduct the Diocesan Annual Appeal, but for a lifetime.

May God bless you! Fr. Schaller