Bishop’s Letter: Jesus never leaves us

Mar 21, 2024

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

We make ready for Holy Week, a time to walk with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on the Way of the Cross. It is a time for our most sincere reflection of who we are as a people of God and how we are living our sacramental Covenant through, with, and in Him. It is a time to consider whether our thoughts, words and deeds are truly of God so that we, individually and as a people gathered, are a light for the nations.

Do our words open the eyes of our children to God? Do we enfold those who have heartbreak and brokenness with God’s tender mercy and prayer? Do we lead those whose joy has abandoned their own breath and bring them back to smile again, to be filled with God’s light? Do we live 24/7/365 through His victory of justice?

Jesus never leaves us. He remains with us through the Eucharist to guide us always, as the Way of the Cross is not a moment in time but a time of life. He died for us that we might have everlasting life and by that, He calls us to be His dwelling place that there would be no difference between heaven and earth. By becoming flesh, He calls our humanity to divinity. How close are we to living as a Eucharist?

On Monday, March 25, I will be joined by the priests serving in the Diocese of Orlando and you, the community of faith, for the celebration of the Chrism Mass. The Chrism Mass, celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe at 11 a.m., is an invitation for the Church to acknowledge the essential of our daily living, Jesus the Eucharist. It is a beautiful presentation of the oils of anointing which are used throughout the liturgical year to bring forth the Sacraments of Initiation, Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Orders. We announce the Oil of Catechumens, Oil of the Sick, and Oil of Holy Chrism to God and ask Him to bless them that we might continue to imbue His dwelling place with the splendor of holiness by all the people. Each prayer of blessing includes an explanation of the power and effect of each oil. The newly blessed oils are apportioned and distributed to each Catholic church in the Diocese of Orlando and are brought forth during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Holy Thursday), intimating our oneness with one another through, with and in God.

During the Chrism Mass, I invite all the priest concelebrants to reaffirm their ministry by renewing the promises made at Ordination. We were anointed with the oil of Holy Chrism, the oil of gladness, the Holy Spirit, to serve God’s people as priests of His Son. Together we pray to God, the author of the Sacraments and bestower of life, that we bring to completion the growth of His Church until she reaches the measure of fullness He proclaims through all ages. We pray
that Christ visit his priests in their prayer, in their Bishop, in their brother priests and in their people. We ask that He upset our routine, disrupt our lives and disquiet us and lead us to employ all our talents and abilities to ensure that our people may have life and life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10).

During the Chrism Mass, we celebrate our jubilarians, Redemptorist Father Aldrin Nunes on his 25th anniversary, Father William Zamborsky, on his 50th anniversary, Msgr. William Ennis on his 60th anniversary, and Msgr. David Page on his 65th anniversary. We thank the Holy Cross Fathers Joseph Long and Laurence Olzsewski for their service in our diocese as they celebrate 65 and 60 years respectively, and extern priests Father Hilario Rivera-Gonzalez and Father Joseph Maniangat celebrating 50 and 60 years respectively.

May we be set as a covenant of the people asking the Lord to bless us now and forever. Amen.