As we begin the month of May we find ourselves at just about the half way mark of our observance of the Year of Faith. When we began this graced moment last October, I had asked all to enter into this year both personally as well as communally, that is, as members of our diocese.
Since that time I know that our parishes and the diocese itself have offered many opportunities for the spiritual enrichment of our faith through increased times for the reception of the sacraments, especially the sacrament of penance, and through more opportunities for eucharistic adoration. This is of the first importance for all of us and, as Pope Benedict said at the time, the New Evangelization which the Year of Faith inaugurates begins in the confessional. When we pause to think about this, the Pope has come right to the heart of how we can and do live our faith. Repenting of our sins and confessing them to the priest, receiving sacramental absolution and then using the graces received re-evangelizes us so that we can evangelize others with the joy we have in knowing Jesus.
In addition to these many and wonderful opportunities for our personal and communal spiritual growth, our parishes and the Diocese have offered some excellent opportunities during this Year to increase and strengthen our knowledge of our faith through the study of the documents of the Second Vatican Council and, using the Catechism of the Catholic Church, studying the creed. Again, it was the hope and the intent of Pope Benedict that in doing this all of us would come to a better knowledge of what we as Catholics believe and a better of understanding of why we believe and practice our faith as Catholics.
It goes without saying that if we profess the Catholic faith of the Church, the apostolic faith, then we must confess and live this same faith with the same knowledge and understanding. These two aspects of Catholic life are inseparable.
In the coming months your parishes will continue to provide the opportunities for both spiritual and educational growth and enrichment in the faith. Please do try to take advantage of as many of these opportunities as you are able. Likewise, the diocese will offer these same opportunities, especially on the coming solemnity of Corpus Christi, the feast of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, the THIRST 2013 Eucharistic Conference, and our pilgrimage to Italy. If you have been able to participate in your parish's events and in some of the diocese's events, that is wonderful. If you have not yet done so there is still time and I urge you to take advantage of these opportunities. We can never do enough to keep our faith and Catholic life strong and vibrant.
Please join me in thanking almighty God for the abundant blessings He continues to bestow on our diocese. On May 31 Mr. Adam Maus will be ordained to the transitional diaconate for the diocese and then two weeks later six men will be ordained to the priesthood for service to our diocese. Thank you for your prayers and let us continue to pray for vocations to the priesthood and the religious life in the Diocese of Bismarck.