Events recalled with gratitude - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Events recalled with gratitude

I often think of September as a start-up month after the relative calm of July and August. This month has been no exception. It has been filled with meetings, celebrations and other events that remind me how blessed we are in our local church.

For example, the calendar for the month includes meetings of the following groups that render valuable contributions to the health and well-being of our diocese: Presbyteral Council, Diocesan Consultors, Stewardship Council, Catholic Courier Board, Diocesan Pastoral Planning Council, St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry, Priestly Quality of Life Board.

Special events have also enlivened these late-summer and early autumn days. I think of the 100th anniversary celebrations of St. Jerome’s in East Rochester and St. Hyacinth in Auburn, 50th anniversary of Notre Dame High School in Elmira, the diocesan Wedding Jubilee Celebration at Sacred Heart Cathedral; the dedication of the new Wegman’s Stadium at Aquinas Institute in Rochester, the dedication of the renewed St. Mary’s Church in Elmira; and Mercy Day with our Sisters of Mercy.

Another set of meetings — and travels to them — have reminded me of our communion with the wider church: in Albany with the Public Policy Committee of the New York State Catholic Conference; in Queens with the bishops of the dioceses of our state; in Washington with the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Women in Society and in the Church; in Tampa with the USCCB Committee on Vocations.

A thread running through all the month’s events has been a series of six meetings around the diocese in support of our Annual Thanks Giving Appeal, which we are now renaming the Annual Diocesan Ministries Appeal (more about that later).

As I recall — even re-enjoy — all of the events I mentioned, I have a great sense of gratitude for the privilege it is to experience them. I’d like to mention some of the elements that give birth to that gratitude:

1. The joy I have every day of working on matters of substance with people who love the Lord, who are devoted to the life of the church and who are remarkably generous in sharing their gifts with others. I have often said that one of the great graces of my life is the network of relationships to which I am called by virtue of my office.

2. The providential ways of God that open new life and fresh possibilities to us even in the most ordinary and predictable of experiences. When you have virtually the same set of meetings year after year, you can only thank the Lord when, as in my experience, those meetings continually challenge, stimulate and renew. There are changes in membership, new issues to handle; we try to grow and mature as individuals and as groups.

3. The realization that the Lord is with us in every circumstance and in all of our reality — no matter how harshly we may judge ourselves or how hopeless life sometimes may seem to us. This realization comes to me through the people I meet every day. Realizing that, though graced, each of us is a sinner, they do not become discouraged when difficulties arise or even when we cause one another pain. Rather, they remain confident in the promises of the Lord and hopeful in a way that invites others to hope with them.

So, I thank the Lord for this September, and I thank all of the people who — from the month’s beginning to its end — have shown me the Lord’s face. I hope that you have experienced similar blessings in this stretch of life.

Peace to all.

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