Opening ourselves to new friendships - Catholic Courier

Opening ourselves to new friendships

When Bishop Salvatore R. Matano was announced as Rochester’s new bishop Nov. 6, the first thing I heard many people say was, “Praise God!”

Then they said, “Who is he?”

I’m sure Bishop Matano’s name trended on social media in our area as people raced to the computer to find out more about him. People who knew him in Burlington, Vt., and Providence, RI., told me his humility, his humor and his work ethic were unmatched.

Closer to home, through Facebook, blogs, the daily newspaper and conversations, I have heard many people express trepidation about the potential changes a new bishop could bring.

We in this diocese are intimately familiar with change and the pain that is so often associated with it. We have endured painful church closings, school closings, the loss of pastoral leaders, sales of church buildings and property, and a slew of other transitions.

But if you ask people at the refugee ministry Mary’s Place in Rochester, or the comfort-care home Patrick Place under construction in Scottsville, or Irondequoit Senior Ministries, all of which were started by parishes in the midst of painful transitions, they can show you how good things can grow from new friendships.

Remember when Jesus called on Zaccheus, who was hanging out in a sycamore tree? Jesus warmly invited himself over to the sinful tax collector’s home to spend the night. Jesus’ merciful gesture of friendship caused such a transformation in Zaccheus that the tax collector pledged to give away half his wealth.

Instead of change, maybe what we actually fear in our lives is personal transformation and sacrifice. Yet if we allow ourselves to be changed by those who enter our lives, we may open ourselves to the possibilities of a joy greater than we could have imagined.

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