As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. The past month has been full with the Pallium Mass, friends in town for a visit, meeting with pastoral staff, and parish visits. Today, I fly to Kodiak for a parish visit, which will bring to a conclusion my first round of parish visits.
Here are some highlights of the past month. Enjoy.
In late August I made a retreat at Saint Meinrad Archabbey in southern Indiana. It was good to have some quiet time in prayer to reflect upon these past ten months. During the silence and contemplation, God was clearly at work, helping me to understand where He is present and active. The retreat was summed up quite quickly and clearly in the opening line of St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians: “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God…”
The retreat was quickly followed by a few days with the bishops of my support group, who also came to Saint Meinrad for this period of rest and fraternity. Our group has set aside Labor Day as one of the weekends each year we gather for support. As always, we enjoyed each others company, as well as time for Mass and prayer each day. We are most grateful to Saint Meinrad for hosting us!
Upon returning to Anchorage, I gathered the chancery staff for a morning of reflection, discussion and prayer. It was good for me to have an opportunity to share with them my own vision of Church, some of my hopes and expectations, and to also provide them some time to pose their own hopes and questions as we look to the future of this local church. I really enjoyed our morning together.
The priests quickly followed the chancery staff in occupying the Holy Spirit Retreat Center for their annual retreat. We were blessed this year to have as our director, Fr. Tom Rosica,CSB, Founder and Ex. Dir. of Salt & Light in Canada. He is an excellent biblical scholar, and somewhat of an ‘insider’ with regards to the priorities of Pope Francis. He regaled us with many stories, and enlightened us with profound insights into Sacred Scripture as it regards our priesthood and the mission of the Church. We are very grateful for Fr. Tom’s presence and direction.
The retreat concluded with the Pallium Mass, celebrated at the co-cathedral with our Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre. It was a joyful occasion, and quite moving when he imposed the Pallium upon me, with all of the symbolism and meaning which it carries.
With several guests in town, the next few weeks were spent entertaining and traveling. While staying in touch with the office by phone and email, we covered some beautiful territory of Alaska! This is a great time of year here, and we caught the fall colors in all their brilliance, as well as catching a few salmon!
This time of year also includes visits to our Catholic Schools, and Masses to kick off a new academic year. Missing from these few photos are my visits to Lumen Christi and Holy Rosary Academy (I’m sure they new will send me a few shots!). And, later today I depart for my visit to Kodiak, where I will visit there school on Monday!
Mass at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Our Lady of the Valley Catholic School, Wasilla
Finally, I have also been to St. Christopher by the Sea in Dutch Harbor, our western most parish out on the Aleutian Island chain. Even though there is more, I have run out of time. This will do for now. Enjoy!