Monday, April 18, 2016

Particular Church

John Cardinal Neumann wrote,
To live is to change and to be perfect is to have changed often

If that is so, perfection is just around the corner. Beginning May 1 I will begin my fourth assignment in 9 months. I will return to St. Augustine's to celebrate weekend masses for the Englsih speaking community. I will continue to live at St. Paul and work full-time at the tribunal. The reactions of some of my friends have been rather strong. For myself, it is a reminder of what it means to be ordained. 

On Sarturday we ordained three new deacons who, God willing, will be ordained priests. I was half the age I am now went I knelt down in St. John of Arc, and promised respect and obedience to Bishop Sullivan and his successors which you do at the moment you are ordained a deacon. 

 The promise is not one of blind obedience to an individual. I was not promising respect and obedience to the person of Walter Sullivan. The promise is an act of faith hope and love:

Faith in th presence of the Holy Spirit
Hope grounded in the knowledge that with God all thiings are possible, and
Love for the particular church. 

The Catholic Church has two levels, universal and pariticular and the pariixular church is not the parish it is the doicese.  The particular church I was ordained to serve is the Diocese of Richmond from Appalachia to the Eastern Shore, 33,000 sq miles. One of the things I most enjoy about my tribunal work is the ability to help people across the entire diocese. 

And while the decision making process for assignments may seem to the human eye haphazard, I believe in providence. I have seen too many examples in my life not to believe. Bishops prayerfully make the best decisions they can with the resources and information they have at the moment, and we all trust God with the rest. 

I pray in a special way for the people of St. Augustine that in faith hope and true Chrisitian charity we can together embrace another change. I truly believe that in God's providence  as St. Paulk tells us "all things work together for the good for those who love God".

To live is to change...