Making announcement as Bishop of Sioux City
Dear sisters and brothers in the Lord,
As many of you might remember, the official announcement of my appointment as the Bishop of Sioux City was on 10 November 2005. What an exciting and memorable day that was for me. I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for the privilege of serving you as your Bishop. These last 6 years have truly been a blessing to my life. The priests, deacons, consecrated persons and all of you laity, young and old have touched my life and I have found much joy in serving you in Northwest Iowa.
I could never have imagined all that I am called to do as your Bishop, but each of you have made it worth it. I don’t think you will ever be able to take the Denver Broncos out of me, but I am certainly well grounded here in Iowa and have truly found a home here. Thank you all for your welcome, support and friendship. We still have much to do together. I continue to promoxte and pray about the initiatives I have laid out in my Pastoral Letter, Ecclesia Semper Reformanda (The Church is Always in Need of Renewal). The primacy of the Eucharist is at the foundation of all we do. Adult Catechesis, strengthening of marriage and family life, promoting vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life and evangelization are still very much on my mind and I hope they are important to you as well. Together, we have our work cut out for us, together we continue to ask the Lord to bless our work. Many events have been a part of my life these last several weeks. I would like to briefly comment on them.
Most recently I was in Des Moines for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Des Moines as a Diocese. What a joy it was for me to be with Bishop Richard E. Pates and the priests and people of his diocese for the celebration. I was joined by the other Iowa bishops, Archbishop Jerome Hanus from Dubuque, and Bishop Martin J. Amos from Davenport and also by Archbishops George J. Lucas and Elden F. Curtiss from Omaha.
Archbishop Harry J. Flynn, retired bishop from Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis gave a beautiful keynote reflection on the mission that we all have to share the goodness of the gospel and our constant call to evangelize the world.
The month of October was filled with many important events. On October 1st, I celebrated Mass for the Divine Mercy Conference. I prayed that the Lord’s Mercy and Saint Faustina’s intercession would aid us in growing in mercy and holiness.
The annual Bishop’s Dinner for Catholic Schools was a huge success on Sunday evening October 9th. All of us who attended will never forget the enthusiasm and excitement of our dynamic speaker Dick Vitale. Thank you to all who supported this event and to all that do so much for our Catholic Schools.
I visited Conception College Seminary on October 14th and 15th. I take this opportunity to thank the Benedictine monks who give so generously of their time and talent to educate and form our seminarians who attend Conception. All of our places of seminary formation do a great job preparing men to serve our Diocese in the future. Please continue to pray for our seminarians studying at Conception as well as St. John Vianney Seminary College in Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana, North American College in Rome and St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver. We currently have 19 seminarians studying for our diocese and all of them are top notch. God-willing, one day they will serve us as priests. We already have at least 5 new men interested in becoming seminarians for next year, joining those already in formation. And with much gratitude to God, I anticipate ordaining Deacon Pat Behm as a priest in June of 2012. Thank you all for your prayers for all those discerning a call to priesthood and consecrated life.
October continued to be a busy month for me. I wish I could comment on each event, but that would leave little room for the rest of this issue of the Catholic Globe! The meeting of the Iowa Catholic Conference in Cedar Falls, the monthly Presbyteral Council meeting, the annual meeting of Religious Superiors in Iowa with all four Bishops in Des Moines, the Youth Rally in Carroll, Serra Meetings in Sioux City and Carroll, Marriage Night for 30 couples in Sioux City, Conferral of Candidacy and Acolyte to our Deacons at Sacred Heart Church in Early as well as several celebrations of confirmations throughout the Dicoese.
Have I been busy? Yes! Have I been blessed? Yes again! Thank you for keeping me busy. Please continue to pray for me and each other, especially for our priests and deacons who assist me in so many ways.
As we approach the annual celebration of Thanksgiving, I stand before God with a grateful heart for all he has given to me here in the Diocese of Sioux City. To Him all the glory and praise for the good things that we can accomplish together. May His Kingdom Come!
Your brother in Christ,
Most Reverend R. Walker Nickless
P.S. Don’t give up on the Bronco’s, I haven’t!
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