One of the great joys of my life as a bishop is the travels during the Easter season, seeing not only the new life of each spring, but the new life of the Risen Christ transforming the young Church through the Sacrament of Confirmation.
In these past few weeks, I’ve enjoyed many beautiful liturgies and sacramental moments. Included among the joys of the ministry as a bishop, is the one ‘staple’ of nearly 30 years as a priest, preaching the Gospel. In the Easter season each day is a reminder of the great grace that is ours in the Risen Christ! As one of the antiphons from Evening Prayer proclaimed Monday:
“Whoever is in Christ is a new creature, alleluia!”
When I left Indiana twelve and a half years ago to be ordained a bishop in Cheyenne, my Archbishop, +Daniel M. Buechlein, OSB told me: “Paul, don’t be afraid to repeat yourself.” I had no clue what that meant, until now. Preaching the Gospel is regularly proclaiming Christ to others. While the content of this proclamation is the same, I’m always in search of new ways to help people relate to Christ and to his Gospel, and to renew again their regular practice of receiving the sacraments in order to better live in Christ – to be more fully conformed to Christ – to become this ‘new creation’ that is ours through the resurrection.
I also recall one of the first visits with a forester years ago as my brother and I were walking our property with him, learning how to grow quality hardwoods in a small woodland. Knowing we are both priests, at the end of the day he said: “Guys, growing trees is a lot like preaching, it takes a long time before you see results!”
Easter is a great time for each of us to explore what it means for us to live out our baptismal life and mission. It is a time to reflect upon the great mystery and truth that in baptism, Jesus shared his Risen and eternal life with us – the divine life of God! Christ now lives in you and me, and we now live in him! Easter helps us renew our understanding of all that God did for us through his Son, Jesus.
Below is a bit of a photo tour – slide show of the past few weeks. We give thanks to God for the great gift of his Son, and to Jesus Christ for his gift of self and salvation, and to the Holy Spirit for continuing to abide in us and this Church this is the people of God!
Recent stops you may notice:
St. Louise, Bellevue; St. Cecilia, Bainbridge Island (photo still to be added); St. Charles, Burlington; Priests of the Northern Deanery – Anacortes; St. Patrick, Holy Cross, St. Charles Borromeo, Tacoma; St. Martin of Tours, Fife; Bishop Frank Schuster; Archbishop Murphy High School; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Bothel; St. Monica, Mercer Island; Deception Pass; and Sacred Heart, LaConner.