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Bishop Paul Sirba: Come walk with Jesus Sept. 12 for our 125th anniversary

Consider yourself invited! We are preparing for a great day. The celebration of “125 Years, Our Story, Our Faith” culminates with a Eucharistic Procession from the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary to the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC).

Every person is important and everyone is invited to give thanks to Almighty God for his goodness to us. We are a Eucharistic people, and so we give thanks to God.

Bishop Paul Sirba
Fiat Voluntas Tua

When ideas were proposed for how we as a diocese might conclude our diocesan anniversary and give thanks to God for the gift of our faith, the Eucharistic Procession was the idea that gained traction. I believe the Holy Spirit was prompting us.

The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. The Eucharist is Jesus. He is really and truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity in the Blessed Sacrament. Our joy is summed up in the encounter with Jesus. Why not walk with him through the streets of Duluth in public manifestation of what we believe? Perhaps others might come to faith in Jesus.

It is said that St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was deeply moved when, as a devout Protestant, she witnessed a Eucharistic procession and the Eucharistic faith of the Italian people. Her encounter with the Eucharist led to her conversion to the Catholic faith. What a powerhouse she became. She raised her children after her husband’s death, started a religious community, founded the Catholic school system in the United States and became the first American-born canonized saint.

It’s what we Catholics do

Processions are what we do as people of faith.

Life is a procession, a pilgrimage to the kingdom of heaven. Every Mass begins with a procession. Pilgrimages help rekindle the flame of faith. Therefore, for centuries the Church has invited the faithful to walk with Jesus. As a church, the greatest response we can give to the challenges of today is a strong witness of our solidarity and faith in the Eucharistic Lord.

I was touched by what our school children have done in celebration of our 125 years of faith.

Activities like 125 hours of community service, 125 rosaries for peace and for military personnel, a 125-piece mosaic of Jesus, 125 friendship cards delivered to nursing home residents and benefactors, and 125 handprints with the poster that read “Adoration feels like Jesus is hugging you!”

Please come to the celebration!

Your presence will make the celebration richer and more beautiful, because only you can reflect the divine image in the way you have been created to. We are one body, the body of Christ.

We have a way for everyone to participate.

You can walk for a mile, two miles, the full four miles or prayerfully wait for the arrival of the Eucharistic Procession at the DECC. I have asked the priests to cancel the Saturday evening Mass in your parishes so that we might offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass together as a diocese at 4:30 p.m.

Even if you cannot come, please hold the rest of us in your prayers on Sept. 12. We will be remembering you and all the members of the Diocese of Duluth, living and deceased.

It is a joy to give thanks to God for 125 years as people of faith. I look forward to walking with you, praying with you and giving thanks to Almighty God with you. “Come share in the witness of our Catholic faith!”

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