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Bishop Daniel Felton: Easter’s joy is a life-changer for us

Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead, Alleluia! This bold proclamation changes everything in our lives and in our understanding of the world. Jesus Christ has conquered death and in doing so has conquered fear, despair, darkness, hatred, division, and sin. 

Bishop Daniel Felton
Bishop Daniel Felton
Believe in the Good News

As the preface for Easter states, “… by dying he has destroyed our death and by rising, restored our life.” This is a life-changer. If we begin to fully embrace, embody, and express the proclamation that Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead, we will never live our lives here on this earth the same again. We will begin to live our lives believing that even now by the power of Jesus Christ life reigns over death, fear is conquered by love, light disperses the darkness, despair give way to hope, for every ending there is a new beginning and sin is overcome by mercy. Talk about a life-changer! 

With the resurrection of Jesus from death to eternal life, we, too, can have eternal life in his power and name. “For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son into this world so that those who believe in him will not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). In light of this, our time upon this earth is transitory compared to our life in eternity. That, too, is a life-changer. St. Paul tells us that “if we have died with Christ, we shall also rise with him” (cf. Romans 6:8). Just believing that makes us a people of hope and joy. 

If we are a people of Resurrection hope and joy, others will be attracted to us. They will want what we have. When asked, “Why are you so hopeful and joyful?,” we will have the opportunity to give witness to the Risen Lord! In a recent study of people who are not connected to any faith community, when asked “what would attract you to check out a community of faith?” the number one response was JOY. They are looking for people who are joyful in a world that can be so dreadful. 

It is very difficult to truly embrace and proclaim our Easter hope and joy for 50 days. To help us in this mission, there are so many abundant life, hope, and joyous moments during the 50 days of the Easter season, including weddings, baptisms, first Communions, confirmations, Mother’s Day, graduations, warmer weather, longer days of sunlight, and so many other reminders of the Easter Lord who is risen from the dead, Alleluia! 

Even when the lilies droop, the chocolate Easter bunnies are consumed, the jelly beans are gone, and the Easter eggs are all eaten, the joy, hope, and life of the Easter proclamation will never end and goes on forever. Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead, and so will we, if we only believe the good news. 

You will also find in this issue the listing of any changes in the assignments of priests. Given the number of assignment changes in recent years, the Personnel Board and I tried to limit the changes for this year. In our 60 Let’s Listen sessions, the concern and support for all of our priests was voiced again and again. We are blessed with holy and committed priests in our diocese, a blessing we should never take for granted. Please pray for the priests who will be moving to new assignments in the weeks ahead. 

Finally, on May 20, I will be celebrating my first-year anniversary as the Bishop of Duluth. I am so grateful for the many ways that you have reached out to welcome and accept me into this flock as your shepherd. I have traveled over 30,000 miles in the last 11 months and have enjoyed every person I met along the way, parish visits, and getting to know my brother priests. 

I am excited to begin my second year as we mobilize to our mission of being disciples and making disciples in the name of the Risen Lord. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! 

Bishop Daniel J. Felton is the tenth Bishop of Duluth.