By Bishop Paul Sirba
Fiat Voluntas Tua
I was just getting used to the snow and now it is melting. I look forward to spring, but I remain much more hopeful about the Lord’s Resurrection.
We are blest in the Northland because nature itself reflects the glories of the Risen Lord — buds bursting, birds singing and all that comes with new life. This issue of The Northern Cross comes just before Holy Week, and I pray that this has been a fruitful Lent for you.
I know I am grateful to God for a number of diocesan gatherings this past month. Our third annual Men’s Conference with Chris Padgett was a great success. At over 430 strong, the men of the diocese prayed together, listened to Chris’ dynamic presentations and resolved to take what they had learned and be men of faith, brothers in Christ.
Our second annual Women’s Conference was likewise a blessing for the diocese. I’m not sure who had the better lunch (they were both quite good!), but the women enthusiastically gathered at Queen of Peace in Cloquet for a day of prayer and reflection. The speaker was Pat Gohn, who spoke on the themes from her book, “Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood.”
We celebrated the Rite of Election on the First Sunday of Lent. Men and women from around our diocese, along with their sponsors, catechists and family members, gathered in our Cathedral for this beautiful ceremony. Please continue to hold the elect and the candidates in your prayers and make them feel welcome as fully initiated Catholics!
Thank you to our pastors, principals and school families, as well as those concerned about social justice issues, who joined the bishops at the State Capital for our annual “Day on the Hill.” We exercised our religious liberty and advocated our Catholic positions on non-public school choice, against payday lending and human trafficking, and on a broad range of issues. We are called to be gracious but firm in promoting laws which uphold the dignity of the human person, the right to life and religious liberty.
I have had the privilege of celebrating the Lenten Sundays visiting parishes I have not been to for a few years. My travels took me to St. Luke’s in Sandstone, Holy Cross in Orr, Sacred Heart in Hackensack, St. Charles in Cass Lake, Our Lady of Fatima in Garrison, Holy Family in Hillman, All Saints in Baxter and St. Emily’s in Emily.
I thank the parishioners for their warm welcome and the pastors for adjusting their schedules and plans.
One pastor, who will go unnamed, but he shares my last name, was kind enough to share a written copy of the homily he would have given to his parishioners had I not come.
Our preparations for Holy Week and the Paschal Triduum would not be complete without the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance. It is a sheer grace of Almighty God that His mercy is so extravagantly manifest in confession. There is still time to make a good confession before Easter. Check you parish bulletin for confession times.
I encourage every member of the diocese to partake of the liturgies of Holy Week. These are the holiest days of the church year.
All of us should try our best to celebrate Palm Sunday, the Chrism Mass on Monday of Holy Week at our Cathedral, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.
Make the high holy days a priority in your life!