Our Year of Faith is off to a good start. Around 400 people, including 80 – 100 youth celebrated well in Lander last Saturday. Yesterday an estimated 700 people including 120 youth continued the celebration at St. Patrick in Casper. Both events enjoyed the blessing of weather which allowed for safe travel and the beauty of the fall season.
I am edified to see in each of these events the great number of people seeking the Sacrament of Reconciliation prior to Mass. For an hour, most of the priests who gathered were kept busy with those seeking God’s sacramental mercy. One grace extended during this Year of Faith is a renewed appreciation for and reception of the Sacraments of the Church, most especially Eucharist and Reconciliation.
Another very encouraging sign is the number of young people who want to be together in the context of faith. The Youth Rally for each event was well attended, and the youth given some great catechesis for living their faith in Jesus Christ. These gatherings also allowed for a strengthening of the network of faith-based relationships that is so important for all of us, especially our youth.
Tonight I will gather with our high school aged youth from Cheyenne for an evening of Eucharistic Adoration and conversation. I look forward to another opportunity to gather with our young people to both encourage them in their faith as well as to listen to their questions to better understand what it is like to be a young person in the Church and world today.
A part of our offering as we begin this Year of Faith was an opportunity for those who for some reason or another had never been confirmed.
Between the two events, nearly 20 people took the opportunity to receive the necessary preparation and present themselves for the Sacrament of Confirmation. As I looked out at the group of candidates during Mass yesterday, I had a strong sense of God’s desire to do something great for His Church during this Year of Faith. I was impressed at the vast age group represented by those receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. I hope to be able every other year to offer this possibility to others who desire through the Sacrament of Confirmation to be in “full communion” with the Church.
The Year of Faith offers us the grace to be in full Communion with the Church through renewed attention to our relationship with Christ and full participation in the sacramental life of the Church. Not only is this a call to full participation in the sacramental life, but in the life of the parish as well. Every parish relies upon many volunteers to fill the leadership roles on parish committees and to provide the many ministries of parish life. This is a great time as individuals and families to pray about the gifts you can bring to enhance the vibrancy of your parish family.
Finally, it seems the Church is in the midst of one of those historic moments to renew the Church in the fashion of St. Francis of Assisi. Now is the time to open the door of faith and allow Christ to lead us to the richness of life lived in Him; the fullness of life in communion with His Church. Let us pray for the grace to cooperate with God’s plan for this Holy Year that lays before us.