Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, in his message to the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis wrote, "once again, the Pasch of the Lord draws near!"
In our preparation for Easter, God in his providence offers us each year the season of Lent as a sacramental sign of our conversion. Lent summons us and enables us to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life. This call to conversion of heart mentioned by the Holy Father is given to each of us that make up of the Catholic Church of central Louisiana….the seventy parishes and missions that are united as the Diocese of Alexandria. Holy Lent is the season of the longing for conversion of heart.
I want to speak to you about a parallel season, the season of the 2018 Annual Diocesan Appeal. Though it might not seem so at first blush, these two “seasons”... that of holy Lent and the season of our Annual Diocesan Appeal…have similar goals. Both are about conversion of heart, the conversion of our hearts toward the ongoing ministry of the Risen Lord. Every disciple in every parish or mission….that is, each of us….is called to serve as instruments of Christ’s ministry.
On the first Sunday of holy Lent, you and I heard the Gospel account of the temptations of Jesus. The Lord Jesus was tempted by Satan, the Father of lies….just as each of us is tempted. Jesus was tempted by Satan to live only for himself…to live selfishly; He was tempted to turn away from the plan of God and to seek only what gave him human comfort; He was tempted to disobedience. Jesus said NO to the enemy of our human nature, and He said YES to our Father’s plan for our humanity….the plan to redeem us…heal us…to make us one people. Following the Lord during holy Lent, we too will say YES to the plan of God…for each of us and for all of us that are part of the Diocese.
This 2018 Annual Diocesan Appeal is all about our conversion of heart….that our hearts may be open….to support not only our own faith community, but to support and lift up every facet of what is necessary for our Diocese: the training of our seminarians and the candidates for the Diaconate; the ongoing training and care of our priests and deacons; the care of our retired priests; the ongoing support for the administration of our schools; the pastoral care of our college students; the important work of evangelization; and, the work of outreach through the various forms of the media. One parish cannot support all of this; but together, through the Annual Diocesan Appeal, these needed ministries are supported as we pool our sacrificial gifts together.
Let us pray for one another in love, remembering what the Lord has promised through the prophet Ezekiel: I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you (Ezekiel 36.26). This gift we believe has been given, through the life and death and resurrection of Christ the Lord. We are one people….in Him.
I am your brother and your Bishop, in the light and love of the Lord,
-- Bishop David Talley
For more information about the Annual Diocesan Appeal contact Cole Churchman, (318) 445-6424, ext. 220.