I just returned from a 175th-anniversary celebration at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Greece. Father Alexander Bradshaw, pastor of the parish, gave the homily today. In it he reminded the parish family that Our Mother of Sorrows is the oldest parish in the Diocese of Rochester, and the oldest rural (when it was established!) parish in the state of New York.
It was a rich and lively celebration, made the more so by the fact that the parish has done a great deal of work on their church. It is brighter and very beautiful, and features an excellent new sound system.
It was a delight to celebrate with the community at the Eucharistic table and, later, to enjoy a warm and relaxed social time with them in the parish hall. The two experiences left me with no doubt that the folks at Our Mother of Sorrows are very pleased with their renewed church. It is equally clear that, after four months of worship in their parish hall, they are glad to be “back home” in their lovely church.
I know that they will enjoy it for years to come. I hope that one day, before too long, you’ll have a chance to drop by for a visit at Our Mother of Sorrows. I know the parish family would welcome your visit, and I know that you will enjoy what you see.
The event this morning was yet another reminder of the good things that happen in our diocese every day, and of the faith and generosity of the faithful in our 12 counties.
Many other examples of such spirit run through my September calendar:
After a well-deserved summer break, groups such as our Priests’ Council, Stewardship Council, our diocesan and regional boards of Catholic Charities and our Cathedral Renovation Committee resume their normal activities.
We’ll have a series of five meetings around the diocese to promote participation in this year’s Thanks Giving Appeal, an effort that is extremely important to the health and well-being of our faith community.
Also scheduled are visits to Bishop Kearney High School, Nazareth Academy, McQuaid Jesuit High School and to the campus community at Rochester Institute of Technology. Another joyful moment this month will be our annual liturgy celebrating special marriage anniversaries. That will be held at Our Lady Queen of Peace at 2 p.m. on Sept. 26.
In addition to the events just mentioned, I have other responsibilities that take me out of town during September. The first of those trips will be to Washington for a meeting of the Administrative Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. I am near the end of a three-year term of service on this body whose main responsibility is to set the agenda for the plenary sessions of the USCCB.
This is the third term I have served in this capacity and I will miss it very much. It offers a much fuller opportunity to participate in the life of our conference than do the plenary assemblies.
The second trip will be to New York for a meeting of the bishops of the eight dioceses of our state. In the course of our two-day meeting we’ll spend time with leaders of religious congregations of women and men and with representatives of the presbyteral councils of our eight dioceses. We bishops will also have several hours to work on the pastoral issues that bring us together.
As I write these words, I look forward to all that lies ahead during this month of transition from summer to autumn. I know that God will be good to all of us throughout and help us to grow in God’s own image and likeness.
Peace to all.