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Bishop Paul Sirba: Back to school — lifelong learning touches all of us

Sep 8, 2016

It’s September, so it’s back to school time. No matter what your age, lifelong learning touches all of us. Across our diocese our Catholic schools, religious education programs, RCIA programs, Bible studies, Men’s and Women’s Conferences, Diocesan Assembly, youth retreats and many more offerings teach us about Jesus Christ, so that we can love and serve Him as our Redeemer and Lord.

For our diocese, some new exciting opportunities have been announced. The diocese is engaged in the Called To Be One (C2B1) project to ensure high quality Catholic education is available and affordable to all of our families.

Bishop Paul Sirba
Bishop Paul Sirba
Fiat Voluntas Tua

The purpose of Called To Be One is to engage the whole diocese in a conversation and planning process for the future of Catholic school education in our diocese. From the focus of unifying the four Duluth Area Catholic Schools into one school offering PreK to 12th grade in the city to bringing these same educational opportunities through the use of technology to the rest of the diocese is incredibly exciting!

I ask your help. We need to listen to discern God’s will for us. How do we best help parents in their duty as Christian parents to educate their children in the ways of the faith?

Please pray for the future of all Catholic education in the Diocese of Duluth. Take the survey located at www.duluthareacatholicschools.org and share your ideas for the success of the planning process. Consider attending our planning retreats in Duluth on Sept. 24 and Nov. 12. You can register for the retreats at www.duluthareacatholicschools.org. Check out the website for ongoing information and inspirational stories.

To support marriage and family life, we will be celebrating a Marriage Anniversary Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary on Sunday, Sept. 25, at 10:30 a.m. Mass will be followed by a delicious lunch and short program. We need to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage and thank God for the gift of this great sacrament. Like the school initiative, C2B1, finding new ways to teach why marriage between one man and one woman is unique for a reason begins with acknowledging and celebrating the lived reality between happily married couples of 10, 25, and 50+ years. Register to attend at www.dioceseduluth. org/Marriage-and-Family-Life.

The Jubilee Year of Mercy continues until Nov. 20. Have you taken time to participate in it? After attending World Youth Day and following in the footsteps of St. John Paul II and St. Faustina, I am more grateful than ever that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, had the insight to inaugurate a Jubilee Year. It was edifying for me to see our young people praying before the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa, at the tomb of St. Faustina and visiting the churches and shrines connected to St. John Paul II and so many other saints. The words of Pope Francis, the testimonies of the presenters and the lived witness of our own youth made God’s loving mercy visible and tangible. Your stories of God’s mercy will too!

While attending World Youth Day was a great gift, we can encounter the Lord’s mercy each and every day, wherever we are. Go through the Holy Door at the Cathedral, practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy with newfound zeal and enthusiasm. Take advantage of the Sacrament of Confession. Make the month of September a month where learning and evangelizing come together under the banner of God’s mercy.

Bishop Paul D. Sirba is the ninth bishop of Duluth.