• Bishop Matthew H. Clark
    Bishop Matthew H. Clark

Pray for RCIA participants, military

Catholic Courier    |    03.12.2003
Category: From the Bishop


It happens every now and then that unanticipated issues come up and upset the work plan for the day. This was a day like that -- a good day, but one the flow of which left me without as much time as I’d like to do "Along the Way."
 
And so, I find myself at the end of the long day deciding whether to push it and write tonight or sleep now and rise very early to write. I pick the “write now” option, concerned that choosing the alternative would cost me a peaceful night’s sleep.
 
Let me offer some brief comments on a variety of subjects I hope will be of interest to you:
 
1) I have been elated and much encouraged by the experience yesterday and today of the first three of the five Rites of Election we will celebrate during this first week of Lent.
 
Tonight’s rite was at St. Mary, Waterloo, and attracted catechumens (those wishing to be baptized at the Easter Vigil) and candidates (those already baptized who wish to join our church and complete the Sacraments of Initiation) from faith communities from the Finger Lakes region of our diocese. Joyful, hopeful and reverent are some of the words I use to describe these gatherings. There is a freshness of faith. Whether they are 20 or 50 or 70 years of age, these women and men are alive with the love of Christ and a genuine interest to share in the life of our faith community.
 
I think I speak for the great majority of our church members who accompany them when I say that I find their enthusiasm quite contagious. They inevitably put things in perspective for me. Just to be with them for such prayer diminishes those things that tend to discourage or tire me or make me afraid. To be with them helps me to be more mindful of God’s great mercy, compassion and fidelity. I am not sure that they appreciate how much their faith does for us, or how deeply encouraging to all is their desire to share the life of our community.
 
Please hold all of our catechumens and candidates in your prayer and affection as together we prepare for the Easter feast.
 
2) You are always kind in inquiring about my family, and seem to appreciate an occasional word about them in this space. I am happy to tell you that the family joyfully awaits the arrival of a new baby. My niece Kathleen called in great excitement a few days ago to tell me that she and her husband, Mark Grignon, will be welcoming the new member of their family sometime in October.
 
I am thrilled for them, of course. And, I am curious. Will the baby be our fourth boy-child in a row or will we resume that remarkable string of women in the family, which began with the birth of my sister, Helen, and continued through the birth of Jane and Scott’s Megan in 1997? If the baby is a girl, will she be just like her mother? And, if she is just like her mother, how will we cope? These are tough questions for which I have no immediate answers. But I will keep you updated in the months ahead.
 
3) May I ask you please to continue your prayer all through the season of Lent for peace in our world and especially for peace with Iraq. I continue to hope that Saddam Hussein will obey the United Nations’ mandate to disarm. I pray as well that our president, Mr. Bush, will be more open than he appears to be to the grave concerns the Holy See and many of our allies have about the direction in which he is leading our nation.
 
Please pray, too, for our military personnel who are deployed in the Middle East, and for their families who are so deeply concerned for their safety. Be assured of my affection and my daily prayer for you.
 
Peace to all.

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