On Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King brought  the Year of Faith to a close.  So many have been the graces and the blessings we have received from this special year inaugurated by Pope Benedict!  In our parishes and in so many of the diocesan apostolates the Year of Faith has given new impetus to us all to Belong More Deeply to Christ, His Church and to one another. 

It has been a year when we did both profess our faith ever more clearly and witness it to the world with a renewed commitment that is a mark of the New Evangelization.  We began by naming persons we love who are not active at Sunday Mass and prayed for them through Advent and into the New Year.  We also had special events.  Certainly our Diocesan Catechetical Congress was one of those special moments.  The Pilgrimage to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was an unforgettable experience.  Times of prayer, of study and of renewal were well attended in parishes and at our Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington.  In and through it all, we were accompanied by Mary, the Mother of the Church and by St. Agnes, our heavenly patron.

Closure should not mean the end. 

As the Year of Faith came to a close, I was happy to discuss with the Belong More Deeply Committee ways to further the fruits of this special Year.  Together we decided to make the moment of the closure a new step through three days of Eucharistic Adoration throughout the parishes of our Diocese.  From Noon Sunday through Noon on Wednesday, November 27, in all three of our Vicariates you can find the Blessed Sacrament exposed for prayer and adoration in at least one  in each vicariate!  The time and places are on our website, in the Long Island Catholic magazine and published locally. 

My prayer is that we all together will be doing two things through this Eucharistic Adoration.  First we gather singly or in groups before the Blessed Sacrament to give thanks for all the gifts of this past year.  Second we will pray that the fruits of this Year will multiply in our lives during the coming year and years  so that we might be true Disciples of the Lord through faith, worship and witness.  We can renew his Call to us that we belong more deeply to Christ, His Church and to one another.  We will be strengthened to go out into the vineyard and seek those who have strayed and invite them back because we know the Harvest is Plenty and the Master of the Harvest, Our Lord Jesus Christ, wants us, needs us, calls us to proclaim His Name and make heard his invitation to come, follow him on this pilgrimage of faith and hope, of life and love.  What an abundance of God’s love will be poured into our hearts this coming week!

While I will be one with you in spirit and in prayer, I will be geographically distant.  As one of the members of the Holy Father’s Office for Interreligious Dialogue, I must be in Rome for the first gathering of the members in six years.  We will meet through Thanksgiving Day. (Guess who is the only American in that group!)  Staying at the North American College where we have four seminarians, I will make my daily holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament in union with you all and in grateful prayer to God for you all.  Bishop Brennan celebrated  the Mass of Christ the King at St. Agnes Cathedral on November 24.  He, Bishop Perez and Msgr. James McNamara will lead holy hours in each of the three vicariates.  And all our parishes will be united as one in this one local Church of Rockville Centre, praying for one another, supporting one another and seeking to make His Name known so that all might believe!