Seek God in the New Year

As I write this, the Christmas Season is coming to an end.  I really must tell you how much I, as your Bishop, enjoyed the celebration of Advent and Christmas this year. These seasons were a wonderful way to conclude the Year of Mercy and, with Advent its full four weeks, we were really able to enjoy the full beauty of that season.  We were fortunate once again this year in most parts of our great State of West Virginia to have good weather and our people took advantage of it especially for our Christmas celebrations.  I heard from many of our priests that our parish churches were full at Christmas and about how well communal celebrations of the Sacrament of Penance went in their parishes. As a Diocese, we have also developed the technology and the skill to know what is going on in our parishes, with pastors reporting each week and Mass attendance and other important information that allows me, as your Bishop, to have a better knowledge of our parishes and what you experience each Sunday. I must tell you all it was a fantastic Christmas in the Catholic Church in West Virginia. I am grateful to all our people and priests and volunteers and ministries that have worked hard to make it a wonderful experience for all. It appears that there was wonderful attendance at Christmas Masses and that there was a real generosity on behalf of everyone who came to Mass. In particular, our people were very generous in the second collection at Christmas, which benefitted Catholic Charities West Virginia and its important work. We have so many who have worked hard to make our Churches so beautiful and welcoming. What could make a Bishop more happy? You are really in touch with our God in the twenty first century. Thank you and God bless you. We now await the visit of the Magi. These are the “Wise Men” and 2000 years later there is a message that those involved in science and the vast exploration of the universe of creation are wondering about God and seek out the Child in a manger. Do we still seek the Savior of the world? Do we know our God in and through this world? Do we recognize God’s work in the Universe and how do we talk about it to others? The Magi are a fantastic message to our age and to the intellectual maturity we claim at our stage of human development. Let the Feast of the Epiphany and the arrival of the Magi continue to inspire us to reach out for Our God with our minds so that we may know God better in this New Year and walk more carefully in his path of Mercy. This month we will also have the inauguration of our new President and our new Governor, with new leadership in both State and National legislatures. These civic leaders need our prayers, asking the Lord God to help them govern in justice, judge with fairness, and protect the common good while promoting the contribution that each of us can make to the health of society and the betterment of those around us. As you watch these inaugurations, please pray for our State and for our Nation. I hope that you will join me in the wonderful quest to grow in the life of faith and service to the poor throughout this New Year. Be assured of my prayers for you and your families.