THE BISHOP'S CROZIER: Growing in gratitude and generosity
By MOST REV. JAMES GOLKA
We also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. —1 Thes 2:13
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is safe to say that in my first year and a half as your bishop, I have done things I never dreamed of doing in my entire life. A lot of those things are just part of the life of a bishop. Some things have been joyful and others sad.
One of those sad things was the passing of Bishop Sheridan. It is always hard to lose someone so abruptly. There was not time to say a proper good-bye. But I did find a lot of comfort in the Church’s funeral liturgies. I have celebrated many funerals for the lay faithful. I have never concelebrated at the funeral for my preceding bishop. The beautiful show of love and support from hundreds of Catholics in our diocese during those days was very touching. Many have shared stories with me of how big of an impact Bishop Sheridan had on their lives, even if they did not know him personally. Thank you for sharing those stories. It helps me better understand the positive impact a bishop can have.
I also want to say a special thank you to everyone who came together to pray those days, either at the vigil, the Mass, the interment, or simply in our own parishes and homes. A special recognition and thank you goes to the staff at the Catholic Pastoral Center, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and at Holy Apostles Parish, for putting in so much work to host these important Christian funeral rites. I know from my time in parish life how much effort goes into these events. It is important to say thank you. Thanks also to Father Larry Brennan for his powerful homily and for Cardinal Dolan’s presence. Let’s continue to pray that the Diocese of Colorado Springs has a bishop in heaven praying for us and all our needs!
These days I am spending a lot of time praying for you and the intention cards you are sending in. One of the most important things I do as your bishop is pray for and pray with you. It is a privilege for you to share your intentions and needs with me. As these are lifted to the Lord in my personal prayer, I ask that he bless you and give us what we truly need.
All these experiences lead me to be so thankful. I am thankful for all of you, for our parishes, and our priests and deacons. I am thankful for your great love of Jesus and our Catholic faith. Thankful for those who joyfully share our beautiful Catholic faith with others and invite them to new life in Jesus. I am thankful to God for his endless blessings.
On my episcopal coat of arms, you can see the “Pelican in her Piety.” It is an image of a mother pelican opening her own side in order to nourish her starving children with her own flesh and blood. This is an image of what Jesus does for us in the Eucharist. As God’s starving children, he gives us the best nourishment. And for this I am most especially thankful.
“Eucharist” itself means “thanksgiving.” If we truly realize how great a gift is the Eucharist and how much God nourishes us with this gift, we can’t help but be thankful. Every Christian should have the “attitude of gratitude.” Gratitude helps to reinforce our commitment to being faithful disciples of Jesus and eager to share our gifts with others. By nourishing us with his flesh, Jesus gives life to the world through us.
As I continue to pray with your intentions, I want to ask that you pray for a few of mine. Please pray for a deep and ongoing conversion of heart for all Catholics in our diocese. May we fall more in love with Jesus in the Eucharist, most especially at Mass.
Pray that no Catholic ever choose to be absent from Sunday Mass and therefore miss out on the greatest gift possible. Pray that Catholics will take Jesus up on his offer to come to him and find rest, especially on Sunday, the Lord’s Day.
Please pray also that all Catholics in our diocese not only grow in gratitude for their blessings but also generously share those gifts with others. We have been so blessed as a diocese, which means we have a lot with which to bless others.
Thank you for your goodness and faithfulness. May the Lord continue to take care of us all!