I always believe that some of the best things in Lent are observable because we are taking our time – going slowly enough to take notice!
Yesterday, my day was filled – there was very little time to do much of anything except what was already scheduled. Nevertheless, my first meeting was with a team from CRS – Catholic Relief Services. I nearly cancelled the meeting the day before because of the crowded schedule, but I was so happy when I started talking with the CRS representatives. I serve on the CRS Board as part of my committee service to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. I’m part of the Budget-Finance Committee.
Nevertheless, we talked about all the good things that CRS does for people all over the world and how our own diocese is involved in the process with them. Hopefully, on my upcoming (September) trip to visit Father Bob Flock in Bolivia, I will be able to take some time and visit with the CRS people in Bolivia and extend our diocesan involvement with this Catholic world-wide charitable organization. CRS has been involved in emergency disaster relief in Haiti and Japan. They are, in a way, the world-wide extension of Catholic Charities. How good it is for us to take time and think about the good they accomplish for the poor, homeless, and devastated people around the world in the name of Jesus.
Secondly, I was quite surprised to visit with one of our priests who has put together a funding request from an international foundation for some youth activities in our diocese. As much as I was frazzled at the beginning of the day, I was so taken by the generosity and thoughtfulness of one of our priests who was taking such time for the young people of his parish. I was thinking: “O, brother, more work to do…” Little did I realize that father only needed a short and sweet letter of confirmation from me about the fact that he is who he says he is and the work he’s doing is real in the diocese; … Slow down and think about the blessings!
Today, during a rather full meeting of the Deans’ Council, I was sharing the work that is necessary in our Catholic schools to help focus on Catholic identity. One of the Deans told me that we are always so busy that they rarely get the chance to tell me all the good things that are going on in our schools and there are so many good things to tell!
Saturday I get to meet with the Diocesan Pastoral Council and discuss the role of the Lay Faithful of Christ – the Laity in the Church. What a blessing that will be. As we gear up for the coming Year of Faith and the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II and the 20th Anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I am taking some time to reflect on the call of Jesus in the Church. There are so many called and gifted faithful people who have responded to God’s grace and offer themselves up as living stones to build the wonderful Church of Jesus Christ.
As we approach Holy Week it is good to take some time and move a bit more slowly through our normal routines and give thanks for the ordinary things that fill our days and for the extraordinary people whom God has given us to remind us why He came in the first place – He loves us.
Celebrate at Sunday Mass.