From Our Pastor's Desk
From Our Pastor's Desk
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the Lord! As I celebrate my fourth anniversary as your bishop, I wish to express in this Pastoral Letter my deepest hope for the Church (that is, the People of God – us). The longer I serve as a priest and bishop, the truth of this statement becomes more evident: The Church exists to evangelize! Put simply, if we believe that Jesus Christ suffered and died for us and rose again to set us free from sin and death, we are compelled to share that Good News with everyone around us.
We are living in challenging times, to be sure. Our world, our families and even our beloved Church, is experiencing a great deal of division, acrimony and confusion. It seems as though we are condemned to exist in a world where everyone either agrees with us (and thus are on our side) or disagrees with us (and thus are to be shunned – or, worse: treated as ‘enemies’). However, there is
a way out: embracing and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who said, “Seek first the kingdom of God …” (Mt 6:33) A focus on sharing the Good News not only helps us to address the many challenges we face, it is something very positive and hopeful.
Is there anything more hopeful and joyful than knowing that in Christ Jesus we are loved, redeemed, and are given the promise of
eternal life? If we truly believe that, we can say with St. Paul: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31)
Sisters and brothers, why are we downcast today? Why does there exist so much anger and outrage within ourselves and in the world today? I believe that we have forgotten the truth of the Gospel: God the Father sent his Son into the world to save us from our sins, and God also gave us the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us. Thus, we are invited to share in God’s divine life even now. Since that is so, what could possibly afflict us? Jesus says to us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled… Have faith in me.” (Jn 14:1)
One of my (new) favorite passages from the Bible comes from the Book of Zechariah. The prophet lived and ministered in times of struggle and confusion, not unlike our own day and age. Yet he was absolutely convinced of God’s ultimate plan to bring salvation to all of creation. One of his prophesies ends with great hope in the coming of the Messiah, and the response of God’s beloved people: “In those days, ten people from nations of every language will take hold, yes, will take hold of the cloak of every [Jew] and say, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’” (Zech 8:23)
May we live our faith well, confident in the glory that is ours in Jesus Christ, so that people around us may say the same thing:“Tell me about God, for I am sure t hat he is with you!” This is our task and our challenge. If we believe in the Good News, we must share it with everyone we encounter. I hope in this Letter to instruct, exhort, and then join you in living as a missionary disciple of our Lord. I humbly ask everyone in the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee to read it and pray with it. My prayer is that all of us – as families, as parishes and as individuals will put this teaching into practice and heed Jesus’ call: “Go and make disciples of all nations …” (Mt. 28:19)
Sunday, November 14th, 2021 – XXXIII Sunday in Ordinary Time Readings: Daniel 12:1-3, Psalm 16 “You are my inheritance, O Lord!”, Hebrews 10:11-14, 18, Mark 13:24-32
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on November 6th our diocese celebrated her 46th anniversary. To mark the occasion, Bishop Wack released “Sharing the Gift,” his first pastoral letter. In this letter, he shares his vision for the diocese moving forward and challenges the faithful to evangelize. “Evangelization” may sound intimidating, but it is simply a way to awaken in people’s heart a love of God and an adherence to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Last weekend, hard copies of the pastoral letter were distributed to parishioners. I kindly ask you to visit ptdiocese.org/pastoral-letter for an online copy.
The pastoral letter is divided into nine sections: introduction, biblical basis for evangelization, early church, origins of christendom, the death of christendom, renewal, what does evangelization look like today, evangelizing in the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Mary and the saints who will guide and assist us. We shall be impelling this pastoral letter in our parish and each parishioner is invited to fully be part of it. “I humbly ask everyone in the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee to read the letter, pray with it and put into practice Jesus’ call- ‘Go and make disciples of all nations…’ (Matthew 28:19).”- Bishop William Wack.
November 7 to 13 marked the National Vocation Awareness week. This annual week-long celebration of the Catholic Church in the United States promotes vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and consecrated life through prayer and education, and to renew our prayers and support for those who are considering one of these particular vocations. We give thanks to God our Father, for caring men and women to serve in his Son’s Kingdom as priests, deacons and consecrated persons. We ask the Holy Spirit to help others to respond generously and courageously to God’s call. May our community of faith, St. Eugene Catholic Mission and Student Center support vocations of sacrificial love in our youth and young adults. Amen.
I wish you a blessed week,
Fr. Paschal Chester, svd