Bishop’s message – planting seeds of faith

Bishop's message

Planting seeds of faith

During my ad limina visit with Pope Francis on Thanksgiving Day, I asked him how we should address the challenges our diocese will face over the next 10 years.

His answer was simple.
“Have patience. What we do now is plant seeds.”

He said to keep on doing the work of the church. Keep on preaching
the Gospel and keep on celebrating the sacraments well, especially the Eucharist.

“Those are seeds,” the pope said. “Trust that the Lord will bring them to fruition.”

You will be hearing more about seeds of faith in the coming weeks.

Our Diocesan Lenten Appeal theme is “Grow in the Lord,” and that begins by planting seeds.

As a church we plant those seeds at our liturgies and in our parish-based faith formation programs, our Catholic schools and youth ministry programs, and our adult education programs, such as the Certificate in Pastoral Ministry at Seton Hill University. All of these receive support in one way or another from the DLA.

Jesus is present in the Word in Scripture and in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Listen to Scripture, read it and meditate and participate in the sacraments prayerfully. Put yourself in the presence of the Lord, and let Him feed you. Listen to Him, and let Him lead you.

The DLA helps provide funds for the diocese and parishes to plant seeds of faith through many ministries. It also provides one way to be good stewards of the blessings we have received from God, blessings that we are called to share with others.

In addition to ministries, parishes have many other projects — including facility and structural needs — that are supported by the DLA. The more generous people are in the Lenten Appeal, the more our parishes will be able to do with the monetary seeds you have shared. What we can’t do as individuals, we can do as a community.

You will hear me talk about planting seeds of faith as we observe the fifth anniversary of Laudato si’, Pope Francis’ 2015 letter to the world about taking care of the great gift God has given to us, the world he created.

In the account of creation in the Book of Genesis, we hear that when God created the world, he called it “good.” Then God handed it over to human beings, giving us the responsibility to take care of it.

The Holy Father is very concerned that we understand we must steward God’s creation properly and hand it on to the next generation as a gift to them. None of us would deny that we want to leave the created world better than we found it. That is our gift back to God and God’s people.

This observance will provide another avenue for planting seeds of faith and evangelizing, especially by our young people. After all, they understand that they have more time left to spend on this planet than we do.

Pope Francis talks about the “throwaway culture.” He mentions abortion in Laudato si’ as an example of this throwaway culture.

He writes, “How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is un-comfortable and creates difficulties? If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of ac ceptance that are valuable for society also wither away” (120).

Our young people understand how we throw people and relationships away and how we even throw life away. They understand the need to protect all life, including all human life, and protect the environment that supports and sustains life from conception to natural death.

I saw their commitment on display at the March for Life last month. There were so many young people there from our diocese and around the country. They know they could have been aborted; they are thankful they are alive.

I am energized by our children and young adults. The faith is growing in them, and I am confident that they will work with us as enthusiastic sowers of new seeds of faith as we move forward through Lent and the coming year.


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