||January 18, 2016 • VOL. 54, NO. 2 • Oakland, CA|
New year off to a good start
At the end of our Christmas and New Year's dinners, my brother Jesuits and I used to have a toast with a single malt scotch. These can range from sweet and smooth, like Dalwhinnie — to those that are strong and smoky, like Laphroaig.
Two weeks after I wrote to the priests, Pope Francis gave his annual "State of the World" address to diplomats accredited to the Holy See. The pope called on the world to hear "the plea of the thousands who weep as they flee wars, hunger, persecution, political and social instability, and martyrdom solely on account of their religion."
Wouldn't it be great if we became the first diocese in the USA where every parish co-sponsored a refugee family with Catholic Charities? I've asked each pastor to discuss the Holy Father's invitation with his parish council, and make a decision. Catholic Charities is standing by to assist.
In the spirit of "you cannot outdo God in generosity" ... Father John Prochaska, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish for the past 12 years, is going to work in Peru "on loan" to a rural diocese. He has done a wonderful job in Fremont completing the merger of two parishes, and building a new church.
People are asking, "Bishop, how can you let him go? We need Spanish-speaking priests here in our diocese." It's true, we are in great need of more Spanish-speaking priests. But the needs in Peru are much greater. We all live within a half-hour drive or less of a Catholic Church. Where Father John is going, it is much harder to find a Mass. I am proud of Father John for making this sacrifice.
I look forward to reading his reports in The Voice. When he asked for permission to go, I knew we needed him ... but they needed him more there. I also knew that God would not be outdone in generosity.
A few months after I gave Father John permission to go, a young man came forward from Our Lady of Guadalupe parish to ask to enter the seminary for our diocese. And he's an excellent candidate.
"Lord, every nation on earth will adore you!" (Mass for the Epiphany).
Happy New Year to you all!
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