Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I typify this as the season of comings and goings. Jesus, who rose from the dead, was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen as we heard in the Gospel proclaimed on Sunday, May 17. Jesus’ entire mission occurred in communion with the Spirit. Before he died, Jesus promised that the Spirit would be given to the Apostles and to the entire Church. After his death, he was raised by the Father in the power of the Spirit. His coming was prophesied and while He was with the apostles, He prepared them for His going. His call to them was not to forget about Him, but He asked them to go out into the world; the world of which they were already familiar and even beyond those borders, to teach all people to observe what Jesus commanded them. At the time of His Ascension, the apostles thought Jesus would quickly return. So, they formed their community of faith with this idea that the end of the age was close at hand. But, Jesus’ words, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” brought great comfort to the apostles and disciples as His return did not occur during their lifetime. We await Jesus’ return almost 2000 years later. As we continue this apostolic ministry of going and making disciples of all nations, we also find great comfort in His words to the apostles.
There are other significant comings and goings within this early community of faith. The coming of the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to the apostles gave them the courage and strength to go out into the world bearing Jesus’ Word within their heart. On this Pentecost Sunday, I confirmed adults at St. James Cathedral, men and women of all ages and from different parishes throughout the nine counties of the Diocese of Orlando, were sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit and strengthened for service to the Body of Christ. In this issue, you will also read about the faith journey of students of Embry Riddle University who were confirmed on April 26.
This is the time of graduation of our eighth grade, senior high school or college students who are coming into a new age of renewal and education and going to a new school or perhaps out into the world. No matter the age, we are always coming to be disciples of Jesus. At a recent Baccalaureate Mass for Santa Fe Catholic High School, one student said, “Being Catholic means personifying the values of Jesus Christ and relying on Him; it means not just memorizing the Bible, but acting on it. It is the act of being selfless and putting others before yourself.” Another student quoted Pope Benedict XVI, “The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness.” This student spoke about his own comings and goings and how he lived his life through, with and in Christ. He said, “I know that Christ is working through you to mold us into what we are capable of: great . . . The future calls for individuals who are confident in their morality and unshaken in their beliefs.”
Deacon Joshua Swallows, 34, first heard God’s call to the priesthood while studying at Florida State University. After graduation, he served as Campus Minister at UCF and his calling to the priesthood became more distinct. Deacon Dorsey, 28, grew up attending Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Indialantic with his family. He, too, felt God’s calling shortly after entering college at the University of Central Florida. “My first response was ‘No thank you. I don’t want to be a priest,’” he said. Still, the voice persisted, calling him to the priesthood. Their journey of coming into the seminary will end on May 23 at their Ordination to the Priesthood as they go out into the world, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded them.
Finally, we also mourn the loss, the going of one of our own disciples, Father Yvon Hache, who died from cancer on Friday, May 15. Father Yvon was parochial administrator of St. Luke Catholic Church in Barefoot Bay, the southernmost parish of the Diocese of Orlando. His charism was to bring people to Jesus and bring Jesus to people. This formed his priestly ministry as he came to be a priest at the age of 44. In his death, in his going to the Lord, we are comforted by Jesus’ reminder that He is with us always to the end of the age. We pray for the repose of the soul Father Hache and for his family and the community of faith of St. Luke Catholic Church to whom he ministered so well through these past eight years.
During this season of comings and goings, may we steadfastly teach and live the Light of Christ.