As the second anniversary of my installation as your bishop approached I was also preparing my homily for the third Sunday of Advent. The Gospel reading was eerily appropriate. It has to do with vocation, ministry and identity:
“…Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people. Lk 3:15-18
John the Baptist is the forerunner of Christ. From the people’s perspective, there was doubt, “Is he the Messiah?” But John carries absolute certainty about who he is and what is his ministry. We hear this in his statement: "He must increase and I must decrease” (Jn 3:30) John’s message and actions are singularly focused to promote the greatness of Christ. They prepare a way for the Messiah. They are also the words I chose for my motto when I became a bishop.
I too am very clear that whatever merit I may have achieved in the last 24 months as your servant, it does not come from me. I know all too well my weaknesses and challenges. But I know, the Holy Spirit called me to serve you and it is the Lord’s doing if I’ve succeeded in some measure.
Simbang Gabi, is a Filipino Christmas tradition consisting of nine dawn Masses beginning on December 16, and ending on December 24 with Midnight Mass. This tradition was originally introduced in preparation for Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, by the Spanish friars to allow all the farmers to hear Mass before going to the fields. Today, the tradition of Simbang Gabi continues but is celebrated in new ways, sometimes changing to evening Mass times in order to accommodate different work schedules.
This year, we will honor this tradition by inviting the Filipino community and all Catholics to celebrate Simbang Gabi at Sacred Heart Cathedral at the following Mass times on the days listed below. A Potluck supper will take place in the Social Hall following these Masses.
Day - Date Mas - Time Friday - 12/16/2016 - 5:30pm Monday - 12/19/2016 - 5:30pm Tuesday - 12/20/2016 - 5:30pm - No Potluck Wednesday - 12/21/2016 - Canceled Thursday - 12/22/2016 - 5:30pm Friday - 12/23/2016 - 5:30pm
The installation of Bishop Paul Etienne as the new archbishop of Anchorage will be live streamed on the Catholic Anchor website — CatholicAnchor.org. The installation Mass, in which Archbishop Roger Schwietz will formally hand over leadership of the Anchorage Archdiocese to his successor, will take place on Nov. 9, beginning at 2 p.m.
Shortly following the event, photo galleries of the installation will be posted on the Catholic Anchor Facebook page and video of the installation will be available on the Catholic Anchor YouTube channel.
Theodore E. "Ted" Kestler was born in Tacoma, Washington, on December 18, 1943, along with his twin sister, Mary Ann. In Tacoma, he attended Franklin Public Grade School and, as a member of St. Leo's parish, St. Leo's Parochial School. After his father died in 1955, the family moved to Spanaway, a small town a little south of Tacoma, to live on a farm next to his uncle and aunt. Ted graduated from Clover Creek Elementary School in 1958, and from Bethel Senior High School in 1962. He then went on to attend Central Washington State College in Ellensburg, and Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.
On September 7, 1964, Ted entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Sheridan, Oregon. After completing his two-year noviceship, he spent the years 1966-69 at Mount St. Michael's, Spokane, studying the classics and humanities, and philosophy. From 1969-72, he taughtgeometry and mathematics at Gonzaga Preparatory in Spokane. By the time he finished his three years of teaching, he had earned a B.A. in classical studies and a B.S. in chemistry from Gonzaga University, and an M.A. in mathematics from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. He found his three years of teaching at Gonzaga Preparatory so satisfying that, at the end of them, he hoped to return to secondary education after completing his theological studies and being ordained a priest.
ANCHORAGE — Pope Francis has named Bishop Paul Dennis Etienne, 57, to be the next archbishop of Anchorage, Alaska, and accepted the resignation of Archbishop Roger Schwietz, 76, who submitted his resignation last year upon turning 75 as required by the church's canon law.
Archbishop-elect Etienne has served as the bishop of Cheyenne Wyoming for the past eight years.
The new appointment was announced at noon in Rome on Oct. 4. Archbishop Schwietz will introduce Archbishop-elect Etienne at an 11 a.m. press conference this Tuesday morning, Oct. 4, in the Chancery Offices at 225 Cordova Street in Anchorage. The press is invited for the announcement.
The installation date for Archbishop-elect Etienne is yet to be announced, but Archbishop Schwietz will serve as apostolic administrator during the interim.
On September 23, 1953, the Feast of St. Matthew, at the age of 17, a young Jorge Bergoglio went to confession in a Catholic Church in Buenas Aires, Argentina and was profoundly moved by an encounter of the mercy of God in the confessional. It is this encounter of Christ's grace that pierced his heart, mind and soul and kept gnawing at his conscience. This encounter of the Holy Spirit kept pulling him to discern a vocation. This voice of the Good Shepherd became much more clear and louder in his life.
Fr. Bergoglio was ordained a Jesuit priest and eventually became the Archbishop of Buenas Aires. Every time he visited Rome, he would stop by the Church of St. Louis of France, somewhat near the Piazza Navonna. In this Church, he would meditate on a painting by Caravaggio, "The Call of Matthew." In the painting, Jesus steps into a room and is pointing his finger (his hand like that of the hand of God on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel that reaches out to Adam to give life). A ray of light comes from Christ and is shining on Matthew who is seated at a table with other tax collectors counting their money. Matthew's hand is pointing inward toward himself with a facial gesture that indicates, "you mean me?"