Bishop’s Letter: We can lose sight of God’s Presence

Jun 22, 2023
Diocese of Orlando Bishop John Noonan votes at the Plenary Assembly of the UCCB, June 16, 2023 at the Omni Resort Champions Gate, Orlando. (GLENDA MEEKINS)

Lord, in your great love, answer me Answer me, O Lord, for bounteous is your kindness; In your great mercy turn toward me. Lord in your great love, answer me. Psalm 69:17

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

During the month of June, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops held its Plenary Assembly where the bishops gather, spend time in prayer and fraternal dialogue, and share how to serve God regarding specific issues or topics. During this Plenary Assembly, my brother bishops and I received updates on the Eucharistic Revival and ongoing preparations for the National Eucharistic Congress in 2024, as well as participation in World Youth Day with Pope Francis in Lisbon this August.

During the days before the Plenary Assembly began, many committees met to discern various topics and offer guidance to the bishops. These committees are often populated by clergy, religious and laity from various regions and walks of life. The men and women who offer their service to flourish God’s Kingdom on this earth work together to discover the matchless treasure of God, His great love. They know they are called to offer His love through their committee research, analysis, and recommendations. Theirs is a prayer-filled gift to God advocating for His holy people.

We are fortunate that two of the laity of the Diocese of Orlando serve on two separate committees. I am grateful to them for their willingness to serve.

One of the committees of which we are ever mindful is that of the National Review Board, a group of lay men and women who collaborate with the USCCB in preventing sexual abuse of our children, young people and vulnerable populations, as well as the ongoing response of the Church to the people affected by this sinful and criminal activity. The professional backgrounds of these men and women who serve on the National Review Board are law enforcement, attorneys, counselors, victim advocates, theologians, to name a few.

In our changing world of technology, they assist us in understanding the dangers of social media and child pornography; they attend to the language of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in collaboration with other committees; they create and provide resources and tools for our diocesan staff to assist in our participation of the annual audit and review the annual report before its publication. Theirs is the voice of those who have been victimized by the wrongdoing of the Church. Like so many of these committees, they are a hidden treasure for their work is ‘behind the scenes’.

I mention the good work of the National Review Board because we can lose sight of God’s Presence in our world as we weep for those harmed. We may forget the bounteous kindness of God; yet these men and women and all our volunteers offer us hope because they are living as a Eucharist. They receive Christ and offer Christ to those whom they meet, and encourage us to do the same. They help us to understand that God is ever turned toward us by their tireless efforts.

As you receive the Eucharist and are called to be a Eucharist, ponder and pray what that means to you. No matter if you are at work, at home, or at play, you are first and foremost a precious child of God, born with sublime dignity. In His great love, God answers each one.