One of the joys of my life, and I hope of yours, is the opportunity to
learn something new each day. I mean that to include not just absorbing
more data, but the opportunity to learn from our experience of living
and interacting with others.
We learn what people’s curiosities are. We learn what spurs their
growth, how they handle tough situations, how they manage time to meet
their responsibilities in a demanding world, how they find the time
they need for rest, prayer, the company of loved ones.
A couple of events this week put me in touch with people who are
alive with a thirst to learn more, to broaden their horizons so that
they can lead more rewarding lives.
One of those events was Leadership Days, a three-day opportunity for
parish staff ‚Äì professional and volunteer ‚Äì to explore a range of
subjects and acquire knowledge that would help them to live and share
our faith more effectively.
The gathering theme, developed on the three mornings of Leadership
Days, was the diversity among our parish communities. Specifically,
experienced women and men reflected on the joys, challenges and
opportunities of life in rural, urban and suburban parishes.
On each of the three afternoons, qualified people offered a wide
range of workshops from which participants could choose according to
their particular interests. There were offerings on such topics as
Islam, effective preaching, sacramental preparation and how to study
I was able to be there for a part of all three days and enjoyed
hearing those who attended say how much they benefited from the
opportunity. I’m always happy when people are pleased with any of our
programs. But when people give up glorious summer days to explore ways
to deepen their knowledge and love of the faith, there is a special joy
in knowing that they found the work worthwhile.
The middle day of Leadership Days was the Feast of Saint Bernard. I
left Seneca Falls, the site of our program, to go to Saint Bernard’s
School of Theology and Ministry for the blessing of a statue of Saint
Bernard that will hold a place of honor in the foyer of this brand new
The blessing was the first of many events through which we hope to
introduce all in the community to the new Saint Bernard’s. To this
particular occasion we invited past and present trustees of Saint
Bernard’s ‚Äì women and men for whose vision, dedication and hard work we
all owe a great deal of thanks.
From all that I heard and observed that day, the visitors to SBSTM
were as impressed as I am by the beauty for the place. It combines
beauty and utility in a most attractive way. It is truly an inviting
Being there reminded me of the great desire of the people of this
diocese ‚Äì ; powerfully expressed in our Synod ‚Äì for opportunities to
grow in knowledge and love of their faith all the days of their
It was a thrill to be part of an experience that celebrated the
existence of a place which will be a center of this kind of inquiry and
a symbol of our common commitment to our rich intellectual heritage. I
hope that you’ll have an opportunity soon to visit this splendid
facility. It is one of the wonderful fruits of your participation in
Partners in Faith.
I won’t be with you here next week, as I will be making my annual
retreat. I promise that you will be in my prayers each day. And, I ask
for your prayers that I will be open to whatever the Lord may wish to
give to me or ask of me or to whatever the Lord may want me to
Peace to all.