This morning I write you from Anchorage, Alaska. I arrived here last night for today’s announcement (Rome Noon) that our Holy Father, Pope Francis has named me the fourth Archbishop of Anchorage.
There was still daylight as I flew in late yesterday, and I can tell you, this land is gorgeous! Beautiful! Equally beautiful was the warm reception I received from Archbishop Schwietz. We had a lovely visit, and ended (for me) a very long day by praying together in his Blessed Sacrament Chapel, giving thanks to God for his Providence and many blessings.
In this Year of Mercy, on this feast day of St. Francis, I ask for your prayers, that our world may experience the peace that was his signature hallmark. I also ask for your prayers that this same peace may fill my own heart, along with the hearts of the people in Wyoming and Alaska.
Today, I turn my attention to the People of God of this ‘great land’ of Alaska. However, as I write this entry, I simply wish to say to the holy, faithful people of God in Wyoming: “I love you.” In time I will return to you for a brief period to celebrate with you the seven years we have spent together building up the Kingdom of God. Please know of my profound gratitude for your faith, love and support. You are wonderful!
To my immediate family; though many more miles will soon separate us, please know that nothing can distance or dampen my love for you. Nearly 25 years ago, I promised Jesus that I would follow wherever he leads. Once again, Jesus has climbed into my boat and instructed me to put out into the deep and lower my nets for a catch. (Luke 5:4) I’m also mindful of the Gospel last week when Jesus cautioned his disciples: “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) Together let us have the gaze of discipleship, which only has eyes for Jesus.
Please check back later today to see my remarks from this morning’s press conference (11:00 am in Anchorage). Last but not least, please pray for me.