18 November 2006

The Bishop is coming

The Most Reverend George J. Lucas, Bishop of Springfield in Illinois, will be at St. Anthony of Padua parish this weekend for a Pastoral Visitation.

His Excellency will preach at all of the Masses this weekend (and celebrate most of them) and I will serve as the Master of Ceremonies, a role that I cherish and love very much. After the Masses he will visit with the parishioners. He will also attend the meeting of the
Dead Theologians Society.

Some weeks back, Bishop Lucas described his hopes for these pastoral visitations. You can read about them

Here is the welcome that I will give the Bishop at the beginning of the Masses:

Your Excellency,

May the Lord give you peace!

As you know, the Reverend Monsignor Leo J. Enlow, Vicar Forane and Pastor of St. Anthony of Padua parish is, regrettably, unable to be with us this evening. It is, therefore, my happy duty and honor as the Parochial Vicar of this parish to receive you in his name and in the name of our parishioners. With great joy do I welcome you and I greet you with affection.

Most Reverend Father, in this, your first Pastoral Visitation to us, you come among us to exercise the tripartite ministry of governing, teaching and sanctifying which was entrusted to you by the great Pope John Paul II in the name of Jesus Christ, High Priest of the New and Eternal Covenant.

As the Successor to the Apostles, we, the faithful of your Diocese, look to your guidance and example as we seek to follow faithfully after Christ the Lord. We look to your crozier – to your shepherd’s staff – to gently prod us ever deeper into the mystery of Christ. We look, too, to the tails of your mitre – your hat that symbolizes the Ten Commandments – that fly behind you as you run the race and fight the good fight, leading us into the new and eternal Jerusalem (cf. I Corinthians 9:24-27). We run the race with you and, following after you, take courage and inspiration from your example. We look to you also as our father and listen with love and devotion to your words and your teaching.

We welcome you, dear Bishop, and thank you for your presence among us. Be assured of our constant prayers for you, that you may be formed ever more closely to the heart of the Good Shepherd that your ministry might bear fruit that will last (cf. John 15:16).

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