Dear Faithful of the Diocese,
In a recent Lenten homily, Pope Francis declared 2016 to be a year dedicated to mercy. The Holy Father reflected: “It’s a journey that starts with a spiritual conversion. For this reason I have decided to declare an Extraordinary Jubilee that has the mercy of God at its center. It will be a Holy Year of Mercy.”
Inspired by the words of our Holy Father, we have chosen the Prophet Hosea’s challenge as our theme for the 2016 Stewardship and Diocesan Development Drive: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” Indeed, God’s mercy is the very foundation of our faith and of our eternal salvation. The mercy of God is made real in daily life through our compassion, generosity and love.
For the early Christians, mercy was expressed in the practice of almsgiving. For Saint Luke, mercy in the form of charity is expected of the faithful disciple. So too, Jesus taught that as we experience the mercy of God we must be merciful toward others through our benevolence, forgiveness and kindness.
Through the Diocesan Development Drive (DDD) we have the opportunity to extend mercy as we support a variety of ministries vital for the church throughout the State of Utah. These ministries are beyond the capability of any individual parish. One special focus this year is support for the education of future priests and deacons to serve our growing diocese.
This year the diocese will have twelve seminarians preparing for the priesthood. The cost for each is expected to be $45,000 a year. Likewise, we sponsor a four year program preparing deacons for service in the diocese, with an approximate cost of $4,600 a year for each. Other areas of focus include the ministry for youth and young adults as well as our pastoral outreach to the missions in rural Utah. These efforts and many more depend on generous contributions to the DDD.
Your DDD support, your generosity, will extend the Year of Mercy into the lives of many throughout the diocese. I ask that you join me during this Jubilee Year in supporting the DDD. Together we can “Be merciful as our Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36) Your gift will make a difference. What better gift could we present our new bishop, when he is named, than a successful Diocesan Development Drive? With warm personal regards, I remain,
Sincerely yours in the Lord,
Reverend Monsignor Colin F. Bircumshaw