Today marks the fourth anniversary of His Excellency the Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki as Bishop of Springfield in Illinois.
Shortly thereafter Bishop Paprocki set about visiting the seven deaneries of the Diocese and meeting his new flock. In his homily for these Masses, he outlined his vision for the future of the Diocese:
I see a local Church where Catholics take their faith seriously, seek to grow in virtue and holiness, go to Mass every Sunday and participate regularly and actively in the sacramental life of the Church and the activities of their parishes; love God with all their heart and mind and soul and love their neighbor as themselves; bear witness to Christ in their daily lives; and promote respect for all human life from conception to natural death.I see a diocese where there is an abundance of vocations of young people willing to answer God’s call to follow Him and dedicate their lives to carrying out His mission in the world; where there are sufficient priests to staff our parishes and serve their parishioners with virtuous commitment and impeccable integrity; devoted deacons, nuns and religious brothers dedicated to teaching the faith and caring for the sick, the poor, and the dying.I see communities where family life is valued, homes with a mother and a father who love their children and whose children love them; parents who educate and form their children and themselves in the Catholic faith.In short, I see a glimpse of God’s Kingdom already foreshadowed in the life of the Church and a foretaste of the heavenly banquet in the Eucharistic feast.
Let us this day implore the aid of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of Saints Thomas More and John Fisher, so that, strengthened with his seven-fold gifts, we may cooperate ever more fully with our shepherd in building up the Kingdom of God in the twenty-eight counties of central Illinois.
Happy anniversary, Bishop Paprocki! Ad multos annos!