I’m in the Eternal City – Roma. My visit will be for three weeks, and so I ask for your prayers. Included at the end of this blog is Pope Francis’ prayer for the Synod on Challenges of the Family in Light of Evangelization, which many of you would have prayed in your parishes this past Sunday. Please take some time each day to continue this prayer for the family.
Before describing what is going on in Rome, I would like to share the full and fruitful weekend back in Louisville. Three major events occurred, and each deserves mention and prayers.
The first relates to the rich presence of Latino families in our Archdiocese, as we celebrated the second Encuentro. (The word encuentro means meeting or encounter in Spanish.) Thanks to Annette Turner, Eva Gonzales and all the staff of the Office of Multicultural Ministry, Latino leaders and their families gathered at St. Pius Church in Louisville for a full day of Mass, workshops, and community. We began with morning Mass, and it was so good to join with many of the priests who provide pastoral care to Latinos so generously throughout the Archdiocese.
Fr. Michael Tobin helped me with the homily. Between my limited Spanish and his fluency and quick translation, I was able to convey that the Lord Jesus is present in the gift of our Latino families with three distinct blessings that Latino families bring:
- The increase in reverence, devotion, and joy to the celebrations of the sacraments.
- The great love of family and commitment of time to family members.
- The joyful celebration when together with others.
These gifts provide a renewal of evangelization that is having a profound effect on the life of the Archdiocese.
I also announced the appointment of Fr. Joe Rankin as our first Vicar for Hispanic Ministry. He will work closely with me in providing unity to the priests serving the Latino community, in welcoming new priests (such as the two priests who will arrive from the Mexican Archdiocese of Leon within a month), in working closely with Eva Gonzales in the Office of Multicultural Ministry, and in helping me provide leadership over the coming years. I am so grateful that he said yes. He also will continue as pastor of St. Rita and St. Luke Parishes.
That Saturday afternoon I joined more than 100 deacons and spouses, as well as deacon candidates, at Holy Spirit Church for a town meeting and for Mass. The deacon candidates received the Ministry of Lector, which signals that their ordination is just two years away. The deacon family is such a rich gift, touching virtually every one of our 111 parishes. The lively exchange at the town meeting reminded me of their pastoral zeal and of our great blessing to have such a strong diaconate community in the Archdiocese.