Reflecting the Love and Saving Power of Christ

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BishopSwainby Bishop Paul J. Swain7/31/2015

 “A Day in our Life” is the theme for this edition of The Bishop’s Bulletin. As you can see from the variety of photos each of our days is filled with worship, work, recreation, meals, prayer, personal family time, parish family time and so much more. Each in its own way reflects the love and saving power of Christ.

In the 125 years of our diocese there have been some 46,000 such days. Give Praise to the Lord; each one is a gift. During our year-long celebration there have been special days set aside to recognize our history and those influences that shaped those thousands of days in the life of our diocese. Below they are highlighted with an excerpt from my homily given at these events.

In Yankton we recognized our first bishop, Martin Marty. “We do so here in Yankton recognizing this was the first home of Father and Abbot Martin Marty, who became bishop of the territory of the Dakotas and the first bishop of the Diocese of Sioux Falls which then included the entire state of South Dakota.

“Courageous evangelization to share Christ crucified and risen with all, devotion to the Blessed Mother as our Mother and mother of all, and humble prayer to the God of love and mercy for all, make up the legacy of faith we have inherited and are called to pass on. As we continue our commemoration and celebration of this anniversary in the months ahead, let us commit ourselves to be good stewards and faithful witnesses of that legacy of faith we have been given by God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit expressed through the lives of those who have gone before, for whom Bishop Martin Marty immigrant and bishop serves as a model and icon.”

At the Cathedral we recalled the erection of the Diocese of Sioux Falls on November 12, 1889 by Pope Leo XIII:

“It is hard to imagine the diocese in 1889…Bishop Martin Marty was in failing health. A bishop-friend commented: ‘sod houses, buggy beds, no privies, long wagon rides …no wonder everything in the human machinery went to pieces.”

“Bishop Marty identified three areas of need… too few priests…lack of adequate financial resources…and the physical burden of extensive territory travel. These three challenges have been consistent throughout the years and remain true.”

In Aberdeen we raised up the contributions of the consecrated and religious:

“…18 men’s and 23 women’s religious orders have ministered here over these 125 years. Theirs is a tapestry of charisms that include teaching, nursing, and pastoral presence to and advocacy for the sick, the poor, the native, the immigrant, the elderly, wherever and whenever there is a need to defend the dignity due all persons or when justice must be sought. Religious life is a vocation from God to, as St. Theresa put it, serve as the hands of Christ, always grounded in prayer and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the Church he instituted.”

One of the most moving gatherings for me was the All Schools Mass in Sioux Falls when nearly 4,000 students from the Catholic Schools throughout the diocese came together.

To read the full article click HERE.

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