• Bishop Matthew H. Clark
    Bishop Matthew H. Clark

Events bespeak reverence, generosity

Catholic Courier    |    05.14.2003
Category: From the Bishop


I just finished a phone call to my sister and brother-in-law’s home on this Sunday afternoon. It was a multipurpose call, in that the family members gathered there were honoring three mothers and celebrating three birthdays.
 
The birthday celebrants are my nieces Grace and Mary Ellen, both born on May 13; and my friend, Father Tom Powers, a May 14th baby. The mothers in the group today were my sister Helen, and my nieces Mary Ellen and Kathleen.
 
Mary Ellen and John’s son Patrick was at the party. Kathleen’s baby is still in the womb. She and Mark have not discovered the baby’s gender through ultrasound. Still -- perhaps with mysterious maternal insight -- Kathleen consistently refers to her little one as Tiberius. I don’t think the reference means that, if she has a son, she will name him Tiberius. But, then again, with Kathleen you never know. At least I never have. In any case, it will be a while yet, since her baby remains with her until October. My bet is that she will give birth to a girl. Does that mean she will be Tiberia? We’ll see.
 
I thought that you might be interested in a comment following up my references to cathedral renovation in recent Along the Ways.
 
A weekly fax report on our Partners in Faith campaign mentioned that among the 50 parishes engaged in the first round of the campaign, the people of Sacred Heart led all in percentage of goal thus far achieved.
 
I was not surprised by that response because I have long been acquainted with the generosity of the people of the parish, but I was especially pleased by their response in light of some recent publicity that has left the impression among some that there is rancor and division in the parish because of the renovation.
 
From the beginning, the people of Sacred Heart have been enthusiastic and generous in response to Father John Mulligan’s invitation to help organize and carry out the campaign. And, now that parish leaders have begun making gift requests, parishioners are demonstrating their support for the program.
 
Thus far, the progress of Partners in Faith is most encouraging. We have every reason to be confident that, if we offer everyone the opportunity to participate, we will achieve results of which we can all be very proud. I ask you please to pray daily for the success of Partners in Faith.
 
I must thank the people of the Catholic Community of Rochester’s 19th Ward -- St. Monica, St. Augustine and Our Lady of Good Counsel -- for a most memorable Sunday.
 
The Portuguese community invited me to preside at the Eucharist at St. Monica’s on Good Shepherd Sunday and to join in a procession to St. Augustine’s at the end of the liturgy.
 
Well, it was a beautiful experience. It all centered on the Good Shepherd and his loving care, and his invitation to all of us to share his life.
 
But in the unfolding of the morning -- liturgy and procession -- we honored Our Lady of Fatima whose feast is on Tuesday; we paid reverence to our mothers, living and deceased; and we adored Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. It was all done with joyful spirit, strong participation and the special presence of children who always warm and enrich our celebrations.
 
I should mention to you that we processed to St. Augustine’s -- about 1.4 miles from St. Monica’s -- in the pouring rain. We all would have chosen fair weather for the event. But, I have to say that the joy, reverence and spirit of prayer shown by young and old through such trying circumstances will always be a part of my memory of the day.
 
On Saturday, our diaconate community gathered at Monroe Community Hospital for our annual convocation. Our topic for the day was diversity in our local church. As you might expect, that is a rich and challenging theme -- one that we will never exhaust. But we did have a chance to reflect on this important question, to review what we are doing to reverence the diversity of our community and to consider how we can expand our understanding and efforts.
 
One of the joys of the day for me is the presence of our deacons and their spouses. These deeply committed individuals come from all parts of our diocese. Every day they remind us of our call to serve our neighbor in the name of the Lord. We all owe them a great deal for the immense amount of good that they do for our church.
 
A final note: Last week, in commenting on a meeting I had with the directors of retreat houses and prayer centers in this region, I neglected to mention the Borromeo Prayer Center, located on the grounds of the Greece parish whose name it bears and which supports the ministry. I am sorry that I failed to mention a ministry that has helped many to grow in the spiritual life.
 
We have now come deep into the Easter season. I hope that you have persevered in prayer for those who were initiated into our faith community at the Easter Vigil. And I hope that you have come to new life in this season of grace.
 
Peace to all.

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