This past week I had my first visitors to Cheyenne. Two college seminary friends who are now priests, Fr. Marvin Enneking of the St. Cloud Diocese, and Fr. Mark McCormick of Rapid City came to see how the new bishop is getting along. Their visit reminded me of the precious gift of friendship. It makes me appreciate the role friendship plays in helping us understand the relationship Christ seeks to have with each of us.
When I was a student in Rome, there was an Italian preist who worked in the Congregation For Clergy, Msgr. Mario Marini, who became a close friend, and who had a tremendous appreciation for the gift of “amicizia” (friendhsip). I learned recently that Msgr. Mario died this past May. Even though our contact over the years has been limited, I was deeply moved at the news of his death. This, too, spoke volumes to me of the value of friendship.
Another person who has taught me much of friendship is Bishop Bob Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida. As many of you know, Bishop Lynch preached not only my first Mass as a newly ordained priest, but most recently also preached at my ordination and installation as the new bishop of Cheyenne. Friendship is a Gospel value. “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.” (John 15:12-15)
Hopefully, we all know the treasure of a good friend, or many friends! I am grateful for the many friends that have sustained, loved, and supported me over the years. I’ve not been particularly good about sustaining such relationships, but with age comes wisdom, and I cherish friendships more and more. Friendships with individuals, married couples, and families have played a crucial role in my life as a priest. We are made for intimacy and love, because we are made for communion with God. I propose the LORD chose to call us friends, indeed to become our Friend, because frindship is a great portal to the experience of the ultimate Friendship, to become friends of God through His Son, Jesus Christ. This is what all the covenants over the span of the history of salvation offer, communion, friendship, intimacy with the God who is Love. May each of you be blessed with many good friends, the joy of friendship, and may these priveleged relationships help you to see the beauty of what our Good God offers each of us, to become friends of God. (more…)
When I was a kid growing up, I loved visiting my grandparents homes, both Grandma & Grandpa Etienne, and Grandma & Grandpa Voges. The Etienne’s were a small family. Dad had only one sister growing up, having lost a sister at a young age. The Voges’ on the other hand were a family of nine children. Each family had deep roots in the Catholic Faith. In fact, my parents, and my grandparents, and probably their parents were all from Perry County, and never lived anywhere other than Perry County, Indiana. So, family roots ran deep; […]
At times, we can become overwhelmed by the realities of our day, the demands of our walk of life. In such moments, we can lose sleep, or be tempted to the “usual, sinful habits” as a means of “release” or escape. But we all know that these responses never really work, but only add to the sense of tension, and now add to it the reality of sin, which often leads to a sense of shame and low self-esteem. As our Lenten journey continues, the more we take our call to conversion seriously, we can also […]
Sorry this is a little late, but wanted to share this thought with you before we get too deep into the Lenten Season. Today we begin the 40 days of fasting, prayer, and giving alms in preparation for the great celebration of Easter. Hopefully, we have all made our Lenten resolutions of giving something up, or taking on some extra practice of virtue. Surely, we will all follow the Church’s guidelines of fasting and abstaining at the appropriate times (http://www.usccb.org/lent/fast.shtml). But at the heart of all these good works, do we understand the reason, the […]
Welcome to the latest Catholic blog, Truth in Love. It seems only fitting that today, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, should mark the inauguration of this site. As many who have followed my family’s story already know, the pilgrimage sight of Lourdes, and my own mother’s devotion to the Blessed Mother played a significant role in the life of each of my siblings. (link to story from Criterion) Years ago, when my mother visited Lourdes as a young woman praying about her own future and vocation, she sought the Blessed Mother’s intercession. As […]