Hello everyone! Sorry for the long silence from these pages. As many of you I suppose, life seems more complicated after the last two and a half years. While that would have been a great time for me to continue to be in contact with all of you here, I have not been spared the impact that many of you are experiencing. At this moment, I’m happy to report I’m doing well. Please know of my ongoing prayers for all of you!
Partially, life as the Archbishop of Seattle does keep me busy, and that was especially true during the Easter Season. I cannot begin to tell you how good it was to actually get on the road again and return to parish celebrations – primarily Confirmations during that time span.
At the end of June, I made a very quick trip to Rome for some meetings. That was the first time I ever travelled to Europe with carry on luggage! Some of you may have seen the video I posted from St. Peter’s Basilica on June 29!
Since then, I tried (successfully) to slow down the pace to get some rest and exercise and begin putting some discipline back in my life, such as a regular schedule of prayer, diet, rest, exercise, and of course, work. It was a good few months. However, now that the busy schedule is picking up, it is testing my resolve once again.
I mention all of that simply to encourage you in your own efforts to ‘recover’ from the many impacts we all experienced over these past few years. Hang in there, because this worldly journey is worth it. After all, we are making our way towards an eternal home, and please God, an eternal reward.
Now that Fall has officially begun, I will try to touch base with all of you on a more regular basis – another one of my post-COVID resolutions! I read somewhere that it is good, even healthy to ‘write’, and this is a great forum! I hope all of you are striving for a healthier life, and recognize the incredible role of faith in that journey.
Over the summer, I made time for family, renewing old friendships, some golf, a float trip on the Yakima River to do some trout fishing, and a trip to the ‘wilderness of Alaska’ with some new friends to fish for Coho Salmon!
It was also good to get a leisurely walk in most days. Regrettably, I did not seem to find much time to tend to my garden other than the regular watering that is so necessary with the above normal heat and below normal moisture here in Seattle. Never-the-less, I’ve been able to share lots of fresh produce with my staff at the chancery, especially tomatoes and green beans!
I am gradually making the rounds to every parish and mission of the Archdiocese, and the list is getting quite small of those I have yet to visit. Also, there are several schools on my calendar for visits this Fall. A few weeks ago we had a lovely opening Mass for the regional schools in the South Sound Deanery, hosted at St. Martin University.
Last weekend I had the great joy of making my first return visit to Anchorage since leaving there over three years ago. Sr. Genevieve Osayame, EHJ invited me to help her celebrate her 40th anniversary as a woman religious, and there just happened to be an opening in the calendar which allowed me to happily accept her invitation.
Saturday evening, we had a beautiful celebration at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Anchorage. And, I was so pleased to see many of the women religious from Anchorage in attendance at Mass, and at the reception. It was so very good to visit with them again!
I jammed as many other visits into that short trip as I possibly could catching up with numerous old friends. While Archbishop Belisario was not in town, he graciously allowed me to stay in my former residence, and to drive my old car. Very grateful for my time there.
I arrived back in Seattle Sunday night, only to return to the airport early Monday morning for a trip to Billings, Montana. Bishop Warfel invited me to spend some time with the priests of the Diocese of Great Falls – Billings during their priest convocation.
In an effort to help them prepare for the National Eucharistic Revival, I gave a series of talks on the Eucharistic Celebration over two days.
Essentially, I repurposed my Pastoral Letter on the Eucharist , adding some new material from recent experience, prayer, and reading. I always enjoy spending time with priests, and the three days in Billings proved the same!
Having spent this past week celebrating an anniversary of a woman religious and speaking to the priest of the Diocese of Great Falls – Billings, I want to say a word about the beauty of consecrated life. In Baptism, all of us are joined to the Risen Jesus in a mystical and concrete way. Our entire life in this fleeting world is to be more and more conformed to the person of Jesus Christ and to carry on his mission. Nothing – NOTHING is more important than this!
Every Christian life is to mirror more and more the life of Christ. Every Christian life is to grow daily learning to live more and more for God and for others. Jesus summed up the commandments in this fashion; love God and love your neighbor, and this is done essentially in making a gift one’s self – living for others, not for self.
It is helpful and important to recognize the infinite nature of human desire. The only way to fulfill that desire is with the Infinite – which is God, and for us in the Christian life, the person of Jesus Christ. This is why when we try to satisfy an infinite desire with finite worldly goods, or pleasures alone, we set upon an illusory path which only leads to disappointment and frustration.
Let us all pray that we may recognize the true nature of the human person – created by the Creator – created for an intimate relationship with God. Let us also pray that each person will come to know, discern and embrace her or his calling from Jesus Christ to follow him in whatever walk of life the Father chooses for us.
Finally, let us pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life!
May God bless you, and may the Holy Spirit guide you to a vibrant life in Jesus Christ, who will help you find your heart’s desire!