“I will pray that your next Bishop is a man worthy of your love.”
Bishop Robert Gruss

 

Tomorrow Bishop Gruss will be installed as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw.  In the past few weeks, this change has given us the opportunity to pause and think about the many things that have happened in our Diocese over the past eight years.  The position I hold at the Chancery did not exist eight years ago.  The Diocese of Rapid City’s vision for Stewardship did not exist.  I am deeply grateful for Bishop Gruss’ vision and for the gift he has given to us in the area of Stewardship.

 

Just what is that vision?

 

As I travel to different parishes in our Diocese, I often visit with people who still equate the word stewardship with money.  At other times, people think of the words: time, talent and treasure as the best definition of stewardship.  But the Diocese of Rapid City’s vision is much broader than either of these.

 

In short, Bishop Gruss envisioned this:

 

  • When someone walked in the door of any parish in our Diocese, whether long-time parishioner or stranger, whether for Sunday Mass, a class, or just looking for information, they would be warmly welcomed and treated with exceptional graciousness.
  • All parishioners and all visitors would be regularly invited to a greater level of participation in the life of the Church and to a deeper and closer walk with Jesus through personal invitation by others.
  • In every parish genuine Christian fellowship would be fostered and people would say, “This feels like home.”
  • Because of this Generous Hospitality fostered and practiced, all would be inspired to a firmer commitment to prayer;
  • They would desire to study and learn more about the faith and
  • They would commit themselves to formation; all would desire to conform their lives more closely to Christ.
  • The parish, on the other hand, would be prepared to meet this need for instruction in prayer, opportunities for learning and formation. and would provide all with what they need to foster Lively Faith.
  • Every parish in our Diocese would become a community with significant numbers of Dedicated Disciples practicing a very intentional love of God and of neighbor.  These disciples would actively reach out to others, serve generously and become authentic witnesses to life in Christ.

 Bishop Gruss’ stewardship vision is an expression of his great love for others and his great desire to have them personally experience the transforming love of God.  His love was clearly expressed at his farewell Mass when he shared that his prayer for us would be that our next Bishop would be a man worthy of our love.  What a great grace.  After his installation tomorrow, he will no longer be our Bishop but his love, care and vision will remain.  As St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians,  “faith, hope and love remain.”

 Bishop’s prayer touches my heart and it also challenges me.  What shall we do between now and the time a new Bishop is named for us to ensure that we are worthy of the great esteem he has held for us?  How shall we work to be a Church worthy of the love of our new shepherd and the prayer of our former one?

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