Bishop’s Pastoral Letter
A SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM BISHOP DAVID RICKEN
As we as a diocesan family continue our journey into missionary discipleship as “Disciples on the Way,” we move into the next phase of our discipleship process, the Worship Jesus years, with a focus on encountering Jesus more deeply in the Word and in the Eucharist. During these next three years, we will undertake a journey to become parishes centered on the Eucharist so that all may come to a greater devotion to God, our Father, and his most beloved Son, Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Providentially, the Worship Jesus years run parallel with the National Eucharistic Revival, whose aim is to encourage “a movement of Catholics across the United States, healed, converted, formed and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist – sent out in mission for the life of the world.”
The greatest prayer of all is Mass, especially Sunday Mass. Christ is calling each of us to deepen our prayer lives, and the most intimate way to experience this encounter is in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Yet so many in our parishes and schools long for this deeper encounter with Christ.
Reflecting on this need for the faithful in our diocese to encounter Christ’s presence in the Mass, whether through his Real Presence in the Eucharist, his presence in the Word, his presence in the ministerial Priesthood, or his presence in the community gathered to pray, I have written a pastoral letter, “Encountering Jesus in the Eucharist: Disciples Called To Worship.” This pastoral letter calls on each one of us to learn to know and cherish the treasure that is the Mass by focusing on the presence of Christ in Word and Sacrament. There’s an old saying that goes, “Nemo dat quod non habet.” It means you cannot give what you do not have. All of us, myself included, can benefit from a deeper understanding and encounter with Jesus Christ each time we are present for Mass.
My hope and prayer is that the pastoral letter will be used for personal reflection and the accompanying study guide is used for formation and reflection in the parishes, schools, and campus ministries of the diocese. I want to thank God ahead of time for all the amazing ways he will work in the diocese as we “keep our compass the Word of God and the Sacrament of the Eucharist the center of our lives on this highway to heaven.