Updated: Nov 24, 2021
Greetings in the Lord! This past weekend, eight diocesan candidates for the permanent diaconate and their wives gathered in retreat at Mount Saint Francis in Colorado Springs. This retreat, led by Dr. Seth Wright, marks the penultimate phase of a catechetical, pastoral and spiritual formation which began four years ago. In a simple chapel, in separate celebrations of the Eucharist, the candidates publicly proclaimed their faith and fidelity to the teachings of the Church and presented their personal petitions to proceed to Holy Orders to me as their bishop. Together we embraced these sacred commitments in the felt presence of the Holy Spirit, enlivened with hope for these candidates, their families and our diocese. These men are now prepared to follow Our Lord in diaconal service for the rest of their lives.
"These men are now prepared to follow Our Lord in diaconal service for the rest of their lives."
Their ordinations will be celebrated on Friday, August 6th, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. Through the readings of the day we will join Peter, James and John and experience the revelation of Jesus as the second person of the Trinity in the presence of Moses and Elijah on the mountain called Tabor. This event was not merely a vision of the future glory of Jesus given for the personal edification of those present to it. It was a revelation of the Transfiguration of things to come. The covenant of God and his chosen people, in the presence of the most blessed prophets of Israel, was now directed into and through the very person of Jesus. Let's pause for a moment and imagine ourselves into the scene, seeing Jesus standing above us in dazzling, shimmering glory and hearing the voice of God thundering from the heavens: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him."
"This event was not merely a vision of the future glory of Jesus given for the personal edification of those present to it. It was a revelation of the Transfiguration of things to come."
In these changing times, as we work to bring forth the mission of Jesus in a renewal of prayer, spirit and truth, how blessed we are to celebrate these ordinations on this feast. It is the person of Jesus and Jesus alone, which directs our efforts and our mission. This is what our Eucharist is about, Jesus and us, the purpose for which we have been chosen, born and baptized. Our personal encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist, through reception of communion at Sunday liturgy, in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and in service to the poor and marginalized, must be the center of our lives. The Eucharist is where vocations spring forth and where, by the grace of God, men and women receive and respond to His call.
"This is what our Eucharist is about, Jesus and us, the purpose for which we have been chosen, born and baptized."
On behalf of the diocese, I wish to thank those pastors and parishes which have brought forward these eight candidates and accompanied them and their families through this phase of their journey. You have performed a great service to our local church and brought blessings, more than can be counted or foretold, for our future. Let us all, as faithful Catholics, be reminded that the journey of our priests, deacons and religious sisters and brothers is a continuing path of ongoing conversion where they need our love, prayers and support. We give thanks to God for the vocations He has inspired and for those still wondering and waiting to respond to His call. We are all called into vocation, religious and laity, to respond to Jesus. Hear again the words spoken over the mountain, take them to heart and look to the Eucharist: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him."
Sincerely in Christ,
+Bishop Stephen J. Berg