Greetings all in this holiest of weeks. Thank you for all of your prayers in the last week as I made my retreat. It was a blessed time of rest and restoration for me. I can't say that I had any great insights during the retreat, but rather I grew in confidence and conviction that this path that I have been on moving towards ordination is the path that God has laid out for me. The witness of the sisters was as much a source of meditation as was the Scriptures or the Rite of Ordination that I spent time with in their adoration chapel. To see so many women, young and old, who have given their lives completely to God reassured my faith that this step that I am about to take into consecrated ministry for the Church - while still a step into darkness, that is, into a mystery - is nonetheless one I can make boldly, trusting that God's love beckons me forth. The sisters are a witness to that love. Just as they stepped forth in love to return that love to God, so I know that I can step forth in the love I have for God. For all of this I can only give thanks, because I know that it is God who loved me first and it is the grace of the Holy Spirit that makes it possible for me to respond in love.
Tonight, we will celebrate the Chrism mass in Lafayette. It is the mass where the Bishop consecrates the sacred oils that will be used for the sacraments throughout the diocese in the next year (the chrism, the oil of catechumens, and the oil of the sick). It is a great event celebrating the unity of the diocese as representatives from each parish participate and receive the oils from the Bishop to take back to their parishes. It is also the mass where the priests of the diocese come together to renew their commitment to the priesthood. For me this will be another great witness as I prepare to enter into the Church's consecrated ministry. To see these men, young and old, renewing their commitment to the priestly ministry of Jesus Christ will be another sign of confidence that my love for God is real, and that my desire to step forth into this ministry is an authentic response to that love. If you've never had a chance to participate in an occasion such as this, I highly recommend doing so. It will strengthen your faith in God and in his church.
Thanks again for your prayers. As we approach the celebration of the greatest feast of the year (of all time, really), let us give ourselves more fervently to prayer so that on Easter day we will truly rejoice!