Today, I began early to make my way over wintry roads to St. Anthony parish in Casper.  There were two very important groups waiting for me.  The first group, above, is the permanent deacon class of 2012. 

This group of men meet once a month in Casper for formation.  They are down to the last 18months!  In the twelve months as bishop here, many people, mostly their instructors, brag on the quality of this group of men.  I must admit, I look forward to the day I ordain them deacons.

Today, they took a very public step forward in the Rite of Candidacy.  Basically, this means they publicly, in the context of Mass, declared their intention to complete their formation to be ordained Deacons for service in the Church.

Please pray for these men.  Pray that they continue to grow in holiness, and that they be given the gifts we need for service in this particular, local Church of Cheyenne. 

The other group I gladly spent some time with in the early afternoon is the leadership team for our local Marriage Encounter chapter.  Marriage Encounter has a long history of helping couples strengthen their marriage, as well as connecting these same couples to their local parish.

Marriage and family are critical to our life as Church, as they are critical for the society as a whole.  I encourage all our married couples to put Christ at the center of your marriage.  Give yourself a treat.  If you have never made a Marriage Encounter weekend, this could be one of the best weekends of your life.  With marriage and family as one of the center pieces of our pastoral plan, I’m pretty sure you will be hearing more of this great work. 

God’s blessings to all, and Happy 2nd Sunday of Advent!