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Brothers and Sisters, Greetings in the Lord!

First off, a brief travelogue and then some news. Earlier this month my travels were to Montana for my mother’s 97th birthday, and a wonderful family reunion. As to Mom’s health these days, she continues to be a blessing. GK Chesterton once said, “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.” That would describe Mom. She is praying for us.

Last week, we held the annual clergy retreat in Grand Junction at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish. On behalf of the Diocese, I offer gratitude to the parishioners of IHM for their warm hospitality. Our retreat master, Father Jim Mason, led our clergy into deep reflection about our ministry and the mission of our Diocese. We thank Our Lord for the commitment of our priests and deacons and the hope they bring for our future.

“Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.” That would describe Mom. She is praying for us.

Next week I will travel to San Antonio with Father Carl Wertin to visit Assumption Seminary, where our seminarians Zack Selig and Gabe Urquizo are in priestly formation. They are both doing well in their studies and spiritual journeys. Afterwards I will meet Jimmy DiIorio, Associate Director for our Catholic Foundation, to drive through north Texas and visit with potential donors to our Foundation campaign. We are seeking to build our Foundation, including a new monastery for the Poor Clare Sisters, and expanding our seminarian burse. The campaign, Sharing Our Faith: Shaping Our Future, is thus far well received and, again, we see hope. Pray for our seminarians, our sisters, and success for the work of our hands.

Towards an update on progress for the Synodal Listening Process, the Diocese is preparing to address the summary published in The Little Way diocesan magazine this past month. As you know and was brought into focus through the year of listening sessions, the Diocese faces challenges in building unity and communion over vast geographical distances, across five culturally disparate deaneries. In little ways all fruits of the synodal process are encompassed in the concept of the need for communion.

"Pray for our seminarians, our sisters, and success for the work of our hands."

While our plans are taking shape for the diocese, I encourage each, in your own little way, to personally renew your commitment to building communion in your parish. Asking the Holy Spirit to bring to mind your personal gifts and charisms; to stir our hearts to one another in communion. Come to Mass, listen, watch, and pray. Receive Jesus in Holy Communion with reverence and gratitude. Participate in the community, volunteer, join the choir, teach religious education, support the parish dinners and festivals.

In developing our strategic plan for the next five years, we have already begun discerning changes in the alignment of our Finance, Safe Environment and Human Resource Departments. As was heard throughout the listening sessions a “More Responsible Coordination of Efforts across the Diocese” is in order. Over the next months we will begin sharing plans for the other expressed desires: an “Enhanced Spiritual Formation in the Holy Spirit,” a “Renewal of Formation in Doctrine and the Sacraments,” more attention given to “Equipping Missionary Disciples,” all to be centered in a “True Eucharistic Renewal.”

For our efforts towards unity and communion across the 29 counties and 50,000 square miles of our Diocese, I ask for your prayers. As you pray, please bring to mind the prayer of Jesus to the Father, for our unity and communion:

“. . . That they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me (Jn 17: 20- 24).”

Finally, in sadness for the passing of Bishop Michael Sheridan, and in loving appreciation for his ministry to us as former administrator of our Diocese, and Shepherd of the Diocese of Colorado Springs for twenty years, we pray for the repose of his soul and the consolation of all whom he loved. He was a good teacher, brother, and friend. May he rest in peace.

And may you have all blessings and graces on this Feast of St. Therese, our Little Flower, and in this year to come!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg

Bishop of Pueblo

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