The dawn from on high shall break upon us! (Luke 1:78) HEALING, HOPE AND JOY IN JESUS! My dear brothers and sisters, let us proclaim from the height of International Falls, to the width of Walker and Grand Portage to the depth of Pine City, the dawn from on high is breaking upon us in the Diocese of Duluth! This dawning is an awakening to the vision and mission that God entrusts to us at this time in our history, a dawning and awakening that is the result of the Pentecost stirrings of the Holy Spirit moving boldly in our midst, calling us to proclaim the healing, hope, and joy that we can only find in Jesus Christ to everyone who dwells in the 25,000 square miles of our diocese.
The Holy Spirit has revealed to us in our over 50 Let’s Listen gatherings that the deepest longing we have amongst the people of our diocese is a desperate cry for healing instead of hurt, for hope instead of despair, and for an abundant joy rising from the drudgery of everyday life as we know it. Our mission banner is simple: Abundant Healing, Hope, and Joy in Jesus!
As believers, how can we be anything but disciples blazing a trail to Jesus, disciples who want to help one another grow closer to Jesus wherever we may be in life, and disciples on mission leading all people to Jesus and the Kingdom of God? What is set before us is not only the change of time but also a change of culture that seeks to stand us on our heads so that we might see Jesus Christ, the Kingdom of God, and our mission and vision from a totally different perspective.
This change of culture includes moving from an attitude of scarcity to one of abundance; from organizing ourselves for decline to preparing ourselves for growth; from beginning with our diocesan pastoral offices for mission initiatives to beginning with the mission field for pastoral and mission strategy; from understanding the mission of accompanying others closer to Jesus as the work of clergy and religious to being the mission of all those who are baptized; from maintaining all of the programs and apostolates we presently have to sustaining only those programs and apostolates in alignment with enhancing our mission and vision; from pastors as administrators to pastors as shepherds of their mission field; from seeing our parish as the be-all and end-all of our missionary activity to seeing the communities where we live as being the primary mission field.
I have written a Pastoral Letter to address how we move to mission in the Holy Spirit. I invite you to read or listen to my Pastoral Letter by going to www.dioceseduluth.org.
May the blessings of Jesus be upon all who live and dwell in the Diocese of Duluth,
Bishop Daniel J. Felton
Diocese of Duluth