Working with and trusting in the Holy Spirit Print
Bishop Morlino's Column
Written by Bishop Robert C. Morlino   
Thursday, May. 27, 2010 -- 12:00 AM

This column is the bishop’s communication with the faithful of the Diocese of Madison. Any wider circulation reaches beyond the intention of the bishop.

Dear Friends,

We live in a time of great hope for our diocese. This week we will see two men ordained to the transitional diaconate, next month two will be ordained to the ministerial priesthood, and we have the Holy Spirit to thank for His continued guidance of our diocese and answered prayers, through rather difficult times.

As each of you has experienced first hand, the Diocese of Madison has been undertaking the very serious, difficult, and much needed task of diocesan, parish, and school planning for the past four (plus) years. It began with the Guided by the Spirit process, gathering input from everyone in the diocese who wished to participate. An overall plan was adopted by the diocese, and specific plans were developed by parishes and parish clusters throughout the diocese, affecting every parish and each one of us in some way.

Priestly retirements and new assignments remind us of the difficult changes that sometimes are needed, but at the same time we have much hope for the future. We have hope because we trust in the Holy Spirit, who descended on the Apostles at Pentecost. He is the advocate who gave life and zeal to the Church, through pouring His grace on the first bishops, and it is He who guides our Church in the same way today. So often, I need to remind myself that He is in charge, and He is the one in whom we need to place our trust in planning for the future of the Church, here in the Diocese of Madison and throughout the world, because left up to men and women alone (in our sinfulness), we would have destroyed God’s Church long ago.

Let us renew our thankfulness to God, for the graces of the Spirit, given to us through the sacraments, especially to each of us at our Confirmation, and let us renew our hope and trust in the Spirit as we continue to deal with difficult situations in the Church. God alone, in the persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, will never disappoint. And it is for this reason that it is only in God that we put our full hope and trust, as we plan for the future.

Entrusting our diocese to the Holy Spirit

It is no accident that our Guided by the Spirit planning initiative and Trusting in the Spirit implementation of these plans are, both in name and prayer, entrusted to the Holy Spirit. Over the past 18 months, specific study and considerable prayer has also been given to the future of our Catholic schools. The Office of Schools, together with the Office of Planning and the Institute of School and Parish Development, has conducted a study and planning process that has identified specific strategies to use in meeting the many challenges faced by our Catholic schools throughout the diocese.

As an ongoing part of the overall diocesan planning process, it is now time, over the next years, to slowly begin implementing the strategies for the future of our schools. These strategies too will require some change which will affect each of us in the diocese. But, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in the spirit of hope for the future generations of our Catholic school students, these will be healthy changes for our children, schools, parishes, and the diocese.

I want, here, to offer my thanks to everyone who worked so hard in creating our schools plan. Our Catholic schools, as an extension of the parents’ responsibility as primary educators of their children, are still the best place for a holistic, healthy, and faith-filled education. A limited value cannot be placed on such an education in light of the seemingly limitless benefits for each child, the parents, our parish communities, our society, and the entire Church. Our Catholic schools are already great, and with these plans and with your prayers and continued support, they will be even better in the very near future and for a very long time to come. Thank you, to all who have already done so much, and thanks to each of you, in advance, for considering your role in assisting our Catholic schools.

Focusing on quality, sustainable schools

We each have an interest in quality-sustainable Catholic education, because the children formed in our schools are our future — the future of our Church and the future of our world. Both our world and the Church need well-educated and virtuous members to evangelize and catechize the world and to make the Church and this world more what it should be. This is the mission of our schools, as it is the mission of the Church. The apostles at Pentecost, 2,000 years ago, set out as Christ’s first missionaries to bring His love and His salvation to everyone in the world. Their work is still underway, and the Holy Spirit gives us the grace today to continue their saving mission. You and I have a role to play in this mission, in our homes, parishes, schools, and communities. And together we can strengthen our homes, parishes, schools and communities and our entire Church and world, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, through these planning processes.

In the coming weeks, months and years as the school planning component of the diocesan strategy is implemented, as well as the entire Trusting in the Spirit implementation gradually comes to fruition, we all need to remind ourselves that it is the Holy Spirit, Who comes to us at Pentecost, Who guides and protects the Church. It is He who gives us the graces to change the world for the better. Changes are difficult for us all, but in faith and love we have great hope for a future, bright with the face of the Risen Christ. And this hope cannot disappoint! Please continue to pray that God’s will be done always, in our planning, as well as in all our Church initiatives.

The Holy Spirit is with us and the tongues of fire which hovered over the apostles at Pentecost will cleanse all evil from our Church and world and make them glow with the radiant, comforting light of Christ. Thank you for reading this. God love you all! Praised be Jesus Christ!