Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As we begin Advent we look forward to Christ’s final coming rather than back at Christ’s coming in history. We are reminded that we are a pilgrim people journeying to eternal life. As a diocesan Church we are also sojourners readying ourselves to travel together into the future.
We are doing so through our Parish Planning Process. As a community of faith, we are attuning the ears of our hearts to Christ’s voice, discerning to where our Divine Teacher might be calling us. Some are anxious: what will this mean for my parish? Others might be angry or frustrated: if only…. but I am filled with hope. If we set aside personal agendas, if we die to ourselves in imitation of our Master and commit ourselves to following Christ, how can anything but good come from our efforts?
We are doing so through our welcoming of the new Roman Missal. This is the last Advent during which we will use the current Mass texts, so there is certainly some sadness here. The current Missal has served us well on our journey. But the liturgical life of the Church is not static. Change, as disorienting as it can be at times, can be healthy for any person and for any community. I know that some are anxious: what will this mean for our prayer life as a parish? And that some are angry: how dare they change the Mass I love? Yet, I am filled with hope. I hope that the advent of the new Missal a year from now will be a source of deeper unity for us as a diocese. I hope that the formation efforts that we will undertake will lead all of us to a more profound appreciation of the Church’s liturgy and will help to further form us as a eucharistic people.
We stand at the threshold of another year joined as bishop and diocesan Church. What it holds only God knows. What I do know is that I am grateful that I can travel this path with all of you discovering the future together “. . . as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ” (Order of Mass, Roman Missal, third edition).
Blessed Advent to all,
Most Rev. Martin Amos
Bishop of Davenport