This past Sunday, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, the greatest mystery of our faith, a mystery we cannot fully comprehend, but which Jesus revealed to us. He, the Son, revealed to us the Father and gave us the Holy Spirit. He revealed to us that God is eternal and infinite love, a communion of three divine Persons. God is not infinite solitude, but an eternal communion of life and love.
Though the mystery of the Trinity infinitely transcends us, it is also the reality closest to us because it is the very source of our being. In God, we “live and move and have our being.” As we heard in the beautiful passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans: “the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
On Trinity Sunday, I celebrated Mass with the Confirmation of adults at St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend. Their souls were marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit, as happened to the Apostles on the day of Pentecost. The Gospel for Trinity Sunday was appropriate for the celebration of Confirmation since in it Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit as the One who leads us to all truth. We can also say that on Pentecost, the Holy Trinity was fully revealed. Since that day, the Holy Spirit has been poured out on believers through the ages by means of the sacraments of Christ’s Church.
This past week, I was also privileged to celebrate Confirmation Masses at Christ the King Church in South Bend and at St. Dominic Church in Bremen. Before the candidates receive the sacrament, they renew their promises of Baptism. They profess their faith in the Most Holy Trinity! We also do so every day when we make the sign of the cross. Hopefully, it does not become too rote, too routine, as it is a way to give glory to God and to enter into the Holy Trinity’s eternal dialogue of love.
This past week, my calendar was filled with baccalaureate/graduation Masses, beginning with the eighth-grade students of the Catholic schools in the Fort Wayne area. On May 24, I celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception with all these wonderful young people preparing to enter high school.
On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I celebrated the baccalaureate Masses for Saint Joseph’s High School, Marian High School and Bishop Luers High School. On Wednesday, Bishop D’Arcy celebrated the baccalaureate Mass for Bishop Dwenger High School. I was extremely happy to gather in prayer with our graduates and offer them personal congratulations. I met many of them and their families after the Masses. I am very impressed by the faith and friendliness of these young people.
In my homilies to our graduates, I reflected with them on words I heard Pope Benedict XVI speak to young people at World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia: “Dear friends, life is not governed by chance; it is not random. Your very existence has been willed by God, blessed and given a purpose! Life is not just a succession of events or experiences, helpful though many of them are. It is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise freedom; it is in this — in truth, in goodness and in beauty — that we find happiness and joy.”
I called upon our graduates to go forth as young men and women of hope, the hope held out by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray that they will be ambassadors of hope wherever they go. I told these young people that the Church needs them and their witness of faith, their idealism, their generosity and their service. May God bless all the high school graduates of our diocese with His grace!
Year For Priests
The Year for Priests will soon be coming to an end (on June 19). This has been a special year in which our priests have been encouraged by Pope Benedict to imitate the virtues of St. John Vianney, a shining model of a pastor totally dedicated to the service of God’s people. This year was the 150th anniversary of his death.
Though I have been here less than five months, I have already been very edified by the priests of our diocese. I have seen their prayer and good works and their great dedication to the spiritual good of their people. They have made me feel welcome and at home. I look forward to our retreat together next week.
I extend deep thanks to all the people of our diocese for your prayers for our priests and for all you do to support them in their ministry. Recently I heard from the Year for Priests Committee of Queen of Peace Parish in Mishawaka. I was very grateful to learn about the various initiatives they worked on this past year. I was happy to hear about the day of Eucharistic Adoration they are having for priests on June 19. Also, they told me about the Web-based Spiritual Bouquet for priests, which they developed. I invite you to check it out on our diocesan Web site, clicking under the vocations office. Our priests will surely benefit from the many prayers and sacrifices offered for them!
Next Sunday, we will be celebrating the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord (“Corpus Christi”). I am looking forward with joyful anticipation to celebrating my first Mass with the Hispanic communities of our diocese. After the 1 p.m. Mass at St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend, we will have a Eucharistic Procession through the streets to Our Lady of Hungary Church. All are invited to join in the procession, whether you speak Spanish or not. This will be a beautiful public manifestation of our faith in the real presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
Corpus Christi processions are a beautiful part of our Catholic tradition. I recall with joy the privilege I had as a deacon to serve and accompany Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger during the Corpus Christi procession in Rome back in 1982.
I close with some words from Pope John Paul II about the Corpus Christi procession:
“In the procession, the public and solemn tribute to the Blessed Sacrament, we expressed visibly the communion to which it commits us and we renewed the prophecy of new times when humanity, united in brotherhood through love, will progress as one on its earthly way, singing praises to its Lord…
Our procession through the streets and between the houses of the city is at the same time a celebration of the pilgrim Church and a shining example of what the Eucharist is meant to accomplish in social life…
Thus our procession together, side by side, listening together to the Word of God, one in heart and mind in our praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, reminds us that we are a pilgrim Church.”
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