On a path of God’s design – September 2023

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

On the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we hear the prophet Isaiah tell us that our way is not God’s way; that our thoughts do not compare to God’s. God’s way is above reproach. His love is everlasting. So, too, St. Paul reminds us that we should conduct ourselves in God’s way — that is, worthy of the Gospel of Christ.

As we journey through our Eucharistic living, it might be time to take a pause and ask ourselves if our ways are God’s ways. And, perhaps avail ourselves to the Sacrament of Reconciliation for God is near to all who call upon Him – He is generous in forgiving.

So many of you know God’s way and try to bring Him forth in our daily living. I first call your attention to our first responders for whom we will pray Sept. 29, during the annual Blue Mass at 12:10 p.m. at St. James Cathedral. These first responders accept God’s call to serve Him by serving each one of you. Their call is a holy call for they are called to keep you safe and guard you, as their patron saint, St. Michael the Archangel, is known.

Their duty is one of encounter. They see you as the face of Jesus and try to minister to you so that you will see the face of Jesus in their counsel and rescue. We know well of their valor and courage as we recently recalled the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Their first duty is to bring God’s generous mercy to you. In our world today, this hallowed duty requires our constant prayer for them.

I also mention the people served by the organization, Magnify of Central Florida. One of the entities of Magnify of Central Florida is Bishop Grady Villas, an assisted living facility of the Diocese of Orlando, serving adults with special needs and disabilities. The staff and volunteers are called to magnify Christ by their attentive service to His marvelous people.

Yet, I think they will tell you that the people they serve help them to see Christ magnified in all the gifts they are given and courage to try to achieve their dreams. The 19th annual Harvest Ball, a fundraiser of Magnify of Central Florida, will be held Oct. 7, 6 p.m. at the Royal Pacific Resort. Since I was appointed ordinary of the Diocese of Orlando, I have enjoyed the Harvest Ball as a beautiful opportunity to flourish our care for God’s creation. I hope you will join me at the Harvest Ball, a celebration of thanksgiving for these special people who magnify Christ.

Our priests recently gathered for the annual Priests’ Convocation in fraternal fellowship and to learn more about the mercy of God through their priesthood. They will be spending time during the month of October on retreat at San Pedro Spiritual Development Center. During this month, we ask for a special collection to assist with clergy care for our aging priests.

During August, we dedicated the Emmaus Residence, built for our retired priests on the grounds of San Pedro Spiritual Development Center. Our priests know God’s way and lead you to Him through the Eucharist. Their work glorifies God calling you to join them in building God’s kingdom on earth. I ask that you pray for them and for me, your humble servant, that we will not despair in our lack but be fortified by Jesus the Eucharist and lead you, His holy people, to the heavens.

Later in October, we will celebrate the jubilees of our religious sisters — Sister for Christian Community Ita Hickey, Ursuline Sister Bernie Mackay, Servant of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Concepta Najjimba, and Dominican Sister Lucy Vazquez. Their soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord! They announce God’s wonders to all. They glorify God through their deeds as they are truly an example of Jesus the Eucharist ministering among you that you recognize His face in each person. Their hands and feet, arms and legs, lips and heart — their entire being — is an offering of the Gospel of Christ.