As a part of our Diocesan Pastoral Strategic Planning process, we decided months ago to designate this year’s September Institute to the topic of Eucharist.  The Institute was designed with the goal to further prepare for the upcoming implementation of the New Roman Missal and provide some talks and workshops focused on renewing the vibrancy of our Sunday celebration of the Eucharist.

Our Program began Tuesday evening with an opening address by yours truly, since the originally scheduled speaker had to cancel.  We tapped a number of individuals from around the diocese to share their expertise with us, as well as bringing in a national speaker, Sr. Louise Alff, OSF.  Sr. Louise is a former Coordinator of Parish Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  She has warmed the hearts of the 180 participants in this year’s institute, as well as strengthening the level of resolve and excitement to go forth and reinvigorate our local parishes and parish life.

Some of the local “talent” that has shone brightly for the benefit of all are Fr. Rob Spaulding, Mrs. Maggie Warner, Director of Pastoral Music @ St. Paul Newman Center in Laramie, and Mr. Augustine Carrillo, Director of Faith Formation @ Holy Name in Sheridan, and Dr. Robert Belser, Director of Bands, University of Wyoming.

Just to give you some idea of the areas of our focus this week, here are a list of just some of the breakout sessions:  Chants of the Revised Missal, Building Communities of Welcome, Seven Simple Steps to make Parishes Simply Shine, and Music as a Ministry of Welcome.

One of the real benefits of these diocesan gatherings of our diocesan and parish leadership is the great Liturgies.  Our Eucharistic Celebrations have been great, and give us a chance to model “good liturgy”.  Our Mass this evening, as we celebrated the Feast of the Apostle, St. Matthew, was truly inspiring.

We will wrap up our Institute with a closing session in the morning, followed by a closing Mass.  In the afternoon, our Diocesan Pastoral Council will meet to put some (hopefully) finishing touches to our Diocesan Patoral Strategic Plan.  We are on the verge of “launch”!  Also, after a good Clergy Assembly yesterday, we have made the decision to publish my Pastoral Letter, Surrender To God, Live in Christ.  We plan to mail a copy to each Catholic household around the first of October.

So, I assure you, the Church in Wyoming is alive and well!  Enjoy the pics from this week.