Today, on this Feast of Archangels, I am glad to release my first Pastoral Letter, Surrender to God, Live in Christ.  This Letter introduces the pastoral priorities which will guide our focus as a diocese over the next five years.  As the title of the Letter implies, it is the goal of our efforts not so much to introduce new programs and initiatives, but to simply focus on many of the basics of our life as Church to encourage and assist our people to live their faith in Christ.

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI in his most recent trip to Germany stated that the crisis of the Church today is one of faith.  This Pastoral Letter is an invitation to all people to once again acknowledge God as the foundation of all creation.  It is an invitation to rediscover the Life that is ours in the Risen Christ, to rediscover Christ as the Word of Life, and to allow this Life to be our sole pursuit and purpose.

We hope in the next two weeks to finish printing Surrender to God, Live in Christ, and mail a copy to each registered Catholic household in the Diocese.  The Letter may be viewed and downloaded on our Diocesan website here.  All of our people are encouraged and invited to familiarize themselves with these priorities.  A study guide is also being developed for use by individuals, parish staffs, or faith sharing groups to assist them in addressing some of the challenging questions posed in the Letter.  The study guide is also given as a tool to aid people in applying these priorities to their own lives as individuals, families, and parishes.

The Diocesan Pastoral Strategic Plan is in its final stage of revision, and will be published on January 1, 2012.

I would like to direct your attention within the Letter to the last two pages.  Included are two prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Hopefully, with each of our members praying these two prayers each day, we will find renewed vigor for our faith, and the increased love to live it!  Please be assured of my prayers for all of you.

Come Holy Spirit and renew Your Church!