May new school year allow youth
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
May these last days of summer find you refreshed and renewed after a summer break and hopefully some time of vacation.
NEW SCHOOL YEAR
This week all students in our Catholic Schools return to classes. I know this is good news for many parents and not so good news to our students who must leave the great days of summer behind. My prayer is that this be another year for our young people to grow in wisdom, age and grace. We are grateful for our dedicated teachers, administrators and staff who give so much of themselves to our students. Catholic schools are special places. We know that there is no better way to pass on our Catholic faith and values than through our Catholic High Schools and Elementary Schools. Our schools have much to give academically, athletically and socially, but nothing is more important than assisting parents in the primary role of educating their children in the ways of faith. Year after year, generation after generation this has been the tradition of Catholic schools. Here in our Diocese of Sioux City, we build upon the foundation that has been firmly established by priests, religious women, dedicated lay teachers, Bishops and parents who have gone before us. We thank them for the gift and pray that we can now do our part to ensure strong Catholic schools for the future.
I also want to acknowledge and thank all those involved in our parish Religious Education programs, Youth Ministry and Homeschooling. Once again, solid Catholic teaching and values must be the central focus of all our efforts in education of the faith. Recently our Holy Father has encouraged all of us as members of the Church to renew our efforts in Evangelization. Our Catholic faith is a treasure that we have been given by God. Not only do each of us who profess to be Catholic need to know our faith, we need to share it with others. This means that on-going faith education is essential for all of us, our lives, young and old.
Our faith is by nature missionary, it must be shared. My prayer is that all of us never tire of learning more and more about our faith and using all the means available to make this happen.
EXAMPLE OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD
We celebrated the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mother into heaven on Monday of this past week.It was fitting that the mother of our Lord, untouched by any stain of sin, perfect in love and obedience to her Father and her Son, should receive fully and immediately what is promised to all the faithful. When she reached the end of her days in this world, our Lady was taken body and soul to Heaven. Mary’s Assumption proves that our hope is not without cause. What God has done for her, He wishes also to do for us. She is now what we hope someday to become, and what we will become if we remain faithful and loyal to her Son, always seeking the forgiveness of our sins, the divine union of prayer and the most holy Eucharist, and the spread of the Gospel.
One week after the feast of the Assumption, therefore, we celebrate the feast of Mary as Queen of Heaven. Just as she is perfectly obedient to her Son, so is He perfectly devoted to His mother. Jesus our King gives to His mother the crown of Heaven – a crown not of power and domination, but of love and simplicity. Just as Mary once said to the stewards of the bridegroom at Cana, “Do whatever He tells you,” so now throughout the whole Church she tells us the same. She gives us the model of her own love and faith, sealed with the crown of her Son, so that we might indeed love Him in the same way.
These two beautiful August feasts are also the fourth and fifth glorious mysteries of the Holy Rosary. I encourage you to pray the Rosary with hope and fervor, and to share these prayers with your family and friends. Trust in the power of prayer which our Lady, our holy mother, has given us, and use it to beg her Son to open our hearts to His healing grace, and to fulfill all our needs. Please pray especially for me, for all our priests, and for each other, just as I pray daily for all of you.
Your brother in Christ,
Most Reverend Walker Nickless
P.S. Looks like we are going to have a season of the National football League after all. I put my Bronco flag in front of my home once again. Let’s hope it brings them better luck this year!
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