Bishop's Column

Preaching the Gospel in the Digital Age

One year ago, on September 14, I walked into a room packed with Lincoln’s priests and religious, with faithful Catholic men and women, and with members of the media. My long-time friend Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz was with me.

Bishop Bruskewitz walked to a podium and announced that the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, had appointed me the ninth bishop of Lincoln.

I’ll never forget that day. I’d been told the week before that the Holy Father had chosen me. But it took a while for the news to sink in. I knew how extraordinary Lincoln is. I knew that it was a place of holy priests, holy religious, and holy families. Bishop Bruskewitz is a hero of mine. His predecessor, Bishop Flavin, is too. I couldn’t believe that God had called me to follow in their footsteps.

When I spoke to the people of Lincoln last September, I told you that I looked forward "to spending time with you and your families, getting to know you and your communities. I am eager to share life in Jesus Christ with you through the sacraments, particularly in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist."

In the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to do just that—to spend time in prayer and fraternity among the priests, religious, and families of the Diocese of Lincoln. And all of my expectations have truly been exceeded. This is a remarkable place. The Lord has done great things for us in the Diocese of Lincoln.

There is good news in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. And the Lord is calling us to share it.

At World Youth Day, in Rio, I listened with the youth of our diocese when Pope Francis told us to "be unafraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent."

We’re called, each one of us to be missionaries. And we become missionaries by sharing the good news of what God has done for us—by joyfully proclaiming how the Lord has transformed our lives. How he has set us free. We become missionaries when we attest everywhere to the transforming power of Jesus Christ.

This is where the Lord is calling us.

This week, the Diocese of Lincoln will begin some initiatives to engage young people more actively. We’ll begin a social media apostolate—proclaiming the Gospel to those who might not hear it in a Church or in their families. We’ll start simply, by being present in the "digital continent" to witness to God’s love. But over time, we’ll find ways to provide presentations of the Gospel in multi-media formats, and to facilitate real dialogue, discussion, and, an invitation to the Christian community.

In the months and years to come, together we’ll find new ways to bring the Gospel to the "fringes of society." I am eager to discuss with the Catholics of our diocese how we can fulfill our missionary vocation. I am eager to find new ways to share the good news about what God has done for us in Lincoln.

One year ago, I told you that I was "eager to work alongside you in the New Evangelization, as members of the Body of Christ." In the past year, we have done a lot together. And, I pray, dear brothers and sisters, that we have only just begun.

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