Go, You Are Sent!
There is no denying that this past year has been very difficult for most of us. Fear, division, and worry follow the ongoing reality of the pandemic and the social unrest present in a number of communities across our nation. Yet, spring is traditionally a time to celebrate the blessings that come with graduation and ordinations. In our Diocese of Spokane, we have the additional graces that come to us during this Year of the Eucharist, a celebration that will conclude with the feast of Corpus Christi on June 3. After discussion with the priests' council and the bishops of the Northwest, I will reinstate the weekly obligation for able-bodied Catholics to return to weekly participation in the holy sacrifice of the Mass beginning June 3.
With the return of this obligation, I invite you, God's holy people, to participate in the Mass with a renewed commitment to the faith. Seek the Lord with a sincere heart and bring the peace of the risen Lord into your hearts, homes, and local communities. It is the peace of Christ that will help bring healing to this fractured world in 2021.
For the graduates of the class of 2021, especially in the Catholic schools of our diocese, this year, you are able to experience in-person graduations. No doubt you will hear speeches about leaving your alma maters to "set the world ablaze and go make a difference." These wishes are true not only for graduates, but also for the newly ordained. Through the sacrament of holy orders, deacons and priests are sent out into the parishes of our diocese to share the good news of Jesus Christ, at a time when our world is desperately looking for hope, joy, and peace.
Just before Ash Wednesday at St. Patrick's in Pasco, I ordained José Ulises Aguilera, Arturo Biebrich, and Julio César Rendon to the permanent diaconate for service in our diocese. In late May, Andrew O'Leary, a seminarian at St. Patrick’s Seminary, was ordained as a transitional deacon and, God willing, he will be ordained a priest in May 2022. These men are entrusted with the mission of guiding the faithful to grow in holiness, especially through acts of charity.
Graduates, and especially the newly ordained, are sent out to proclaim the Gospel. But at the conclusion of every Mass, all the faithful are also given the mission to evangelize our families and communities. Through word and sacrament, we are united to God and one another in a bond of love that cannot be broken. We need to be reminded that the name for our eucharistic liturgy itself comes from the closing Latin words, Ite Missa Est. "Go, you are sent!"
As we return to Mass each week, as we celebrate the blessed moments of graduations and ordinations, and in a very special way, our Year of the Eucharist, let us all reflect on our baptismal call and our sending. Let us be authentic disciples, witnesses, and evangelists in all that we say and most especially, in what we do!
Bishop Thomas Daly