Greetings from Atlanta! We bishops are concluding our Spring Plenary Assembly and even though the meeting has been short, there have been many different issues addressed and many voices heard. We even heard from the bishop of Baghdad; and that was quite a sobering moment for me personally. He, of course, spoke to the issue of religious freedom and the absolute persecution of our Christian brothers and sisters in that war-torn and impoverished country. I was touched deeply by his report and felt the fear that he communicated so vividly of his life and the lives of his people there. It is tragic, frightening, and, unfortunately, so real. It’s going to take some time and effort to process my feelings about what he said and how he said it.

Of course, the Fortnight for Freedom was center stage for our consideration and input. There is such energetic unity and support among the bishops in favor of the serious work being mounted across the country as this major historic event ignites awareness and heightens consciences of all citizens, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

Communications was featured prominently in our days together. I felt completely justified as I listened and nodded energetically to all the points that centered on the need to communicate honestly, effectively, and proactively in getting our message “out there.” I was pleased to hear that the Catholic press is alive and well, even amidst the flurry of social networking. I will wait to go further into those media once our new communications director is signed on. Nevertheless, The Catholic Times is still a great way to get our news to you!

There is much more, but I must catch a plane and get to Chicago to celebrate my niece’s wedding – and then, and I can hardly wait – to come home to our beloved diocese.

Happy Father’s Day to all the spiritual fathers of our diocese and to all the fathers of families – Happy Father’s Day, Dads. Please remain strong and give us the true image of the Father!

… and I’ll see you at Sunday Mass!

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