I generally think of January as a relatively quiet time compared to the
rest of the year. People tend to defer meetings until the weather is
less likely to be severe and the roads less dangerous.
That seems not to be the case this January, notwithstanding the fact
that our weather has been tough — lots of snow and extremely low
temperatures. There is indeed much activity this month, and it’s
heartening to review the January schedule to note the good things that
Some examples: We have annual meetings with our state legislators
during which we converse with them about matters of common interest,
including public-policy and legislative priorities developed by the New
York State Catholic Conference and our Diocesan Public Policy
Committee. We met last Friday with our legislators from the Southern
Tier; this week we’ll have conversations with those who represent the
people in the rest of our diocese. Experience indicates that it is good
to have these conversations because they foster mutual understanding
and constructive relationships with these generous public servants.
Our Women’s Commission met at the Pastoral Center on Saturday for
their quarterly meeting. I enjoyed the opportunity to hear about their
initiatives, including some work on spirituality in the workplace. They
had asked me to update them on the work of the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Women in Society and in the Church. I
was happy to do that and to brief them on a conference I’ll be
attending this spring at Boston College. Several of us who worked to
develop a pastoral letter on women for the USCCB in the ‘80s and early
‘90s have been invited to reflect on what has happened since that
effort. I look forward to that event.
We have two very special parish anniversary celebrations this month.
One, the 100th anniversary of Rochester’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help,
we celebrated early in the month. The other, the 150th anniversary of
St. Bridget’s, will take place on January 25. Such gatherings are
always a source of joy for these parish communities; they are also
reminders to all of us of God’s faithful love.
There are several meetings on this month’s calendar. Our Priests’
Council, the bishops of New York state, the Partners in Faith Campaign
Cabinet and the Executive Committee of our Stewardship Council are on
the docket this month. So are visits to Our Lady of the Genesee
Monastery, Bethany House, St. John of Rochester School, Nazareth Hall
and to Geneva for a meeting of our Vocation Awareness Team.
Liturgical celebrations include confirmations at Holy Ghost Parish,
Gates; St. Mary, Auburn; and St. Margaret Mary, Irondequoit. In
addition, I celebrated the Eucharistic Liturgy at St. John of
Rochester, Perinton, on Sunday. During that liturgy we installed
candidates for the permanent diaconate into the ministries of lector
Next week I’ll be going to Austin, Texas, to meet with the board of
the National Conference of Catholic Youth Ministers. While there, I’ll
also be helping the members of the NCCYM with a day of prayer and
reflection on ministry.
In addition to the events and meetings listed, there will be many
appointments and conversations about a wide range of pastoral concerns
and activities for this winter month. Some are easier and more
enjoyable than others, but they all represent some piece of Catholic
life and the tremendous amount of good our people and pastoral leaders
achieve every day. Given the heavy but important and necessary message
I offered in this space last week, I am particularly delighted to
remind you of such positive realities.
Peace to all.