May I wish one and all a Happy New Year. As we complete 2014, there are so many reasons to be thankful to God, for our faith, our families, our friends, the vibrant life of our parishes, the extraordinary apostolic endeavors of so many diocesan initiatives from Faith Formation to Catholic Charities, to Catholic Health Services, to campus and youth ministry. The CMA (Catholic Ministries Appeal) brunch gave us a moment to thank all of you who this year will do your best so that every parish exceeds its goal for the Appeal.
This was the year our diocese received a new bishop when Bishop Andrzej was ordained on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, and I ordained permanent deacons in May and priests in June. You all were so kind to pray for me as I reached the goal of 50 years of priestly ministry on December 16. Again I express my gratitude to all of you for your prayers and a special thanks to the priests who lifted my heart and deepened my love for them in this jubilee year.
As we look forward to the New year, we will have challenges and opportunities in our parishes and our diocese. Some pastors will conclude their terms and be assigned to new pastorates. Five new priests will be ordained June 20 in the Cathedral which begins its sanctuary restoration on January 5. The Regular Synod will take place in October. We have not yet received the information with the instruction for consultation prior to the Synod but we will post that as soon as the material is available to us.
Most of all we will continue, continue doing what the Church does — celebrating the liturgy, passing on the faith, baptizing and confirming, celebrating the sacrament of marriage, anointing the sick and caring for the sick and the elderly, reaching out to the poor, the child in the womb, the needy, the vulnerable and the marginalized. We will continue to live our faith, practice our faith, witness our faith and be of service to one another and to the wider community, our nation and our world. This New Year we pray especially for peace in our world, our nation and our communities as we all commit ourselves to belong more deeply to Christ, to His Church and to one another. A happy, blessed, joyful and peaceful New Year to you all.