Bishop's Column

Gratitude, growth and great rejoicing

“Work,” wrote Blessed John Paul II, “begins a growing in the heart and in the mind.”

Ten months ago, I began a new kind of work in the Archdiocese of Denver. I began the work of Denver’s apostolic administrator. And that work began a new growth in my own heart and in my own mind.

I wasn’t really certain what to expect in the job of an apostolic administrator. I knew it would only be temporary and I was deeply grateful to Archbishop Chaput for the confidence placed in me in recommending my name to the Holy Father. I began in prayer and I asked for your prayers.  I know that they have sustained me and I am grateful to you for them.

The work has not always been easy.  To lead an archdiocese, even in a temporary way, is a challenge.  But I am deeply grateful to have served the Church of northern Colorado as apostolic administrator.  The Lord has used this time in my life to help me grow as a bishop and as a Christian.

In a particular way, I would like to thank my own personal staff and the archdiocesan senior staff. I cannot think of a more competent, dedicated and joyful group of men and women with whom to work. You know who you are and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My mind, as John Paul II reflected, has grown in my work.  In some ways, the administration of a diocese is like a complex chess game—every decision has many effects and consequences in people’s lives and must be thought through carefully.  Each choice must also be rooted in prayer and an earnest discernment of the Lord’s will.  I pray that with the Lord’s guidance and the advice of my worthy collaborators, I’ve made the right choices.

My heart, too, has had the opportunity to grow during my time as apostolic administrator.  I’ve been blessed to spend time with people from all walks of life in the archdiocese.  Each of you has touched my heart and shown me, more deeply, the heart of Jesus Christ.

My episcopal motto is cor ad cor loquitor—“heart speaks to heart”—and I am grateful that over these past 10 months, my heart has been in deep dialogue with your hearts. I am grateful that together we have pursued the heart of Jesus Christ.

My time as apostolic administrator has been blessed because of your prayers, your support and because of the collaboration of so many people in the archdiocese.  Our priests, deacons, religious and seminarians are wonderful examples of Christian leadership and holiness.  Our parish staffs and volunteers are committed and faithful.  The staff of the Archdiocese of Denver Pastoral Center works tirelessly to serve Jesus Christ.  And the many lay apostolates, movements and initiatives of our Church offer to Denver a unique vitality, one which witnesses to the dynamic love of the Most Holy Trinity.

Thank you, dear brothers and sisters, for allowing me to serve you as the apostolic administrator of Denver.

Together now, we prepare to welcome our new archbishop, the Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila.  Archbishop Aquila is already a longtime friend to many of us and many know of his extraordinary love for God the Father, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. He has also been a wise and courageous shepherd.

I know now, more clearly than ever before, that leadership in a diocese is no easy task.  I also know that Archbishop Aquila is well-suited to the task.  He has been chosen through the will of God to be our shepherd. Let us praise God for that.

In another poem, John Paul II wrote, “My soul is open: I want to know with whom I am fighting: for whom I live.”

Archbishop Aquila lives for Jesus Christ.  He fights the good fight.  Let us welcome him, and join him with joy and great rejoicing.

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