|March 3, 2014|
|A Message from Bishop Stephen Blaire to my Brother Priests, Deacons and their Spouses, Religious, Pastoral Workers in the Diocese and all our Beloved People.|
|In preparation for Lent I am just now completing my annual eight day directed, silent retreat with my Brother Bishops from Northern California.|
|I wish to share with you three highlights of these days.|
|First, each day I have meditated and contemplated on the love of God for us and the freedom that is ours in following Jesus Christ. The meditations have focused on Jesus in the Gospels within the framework of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. The Exercises are a wonderful process to help one be renewed by the Holy Spirit to finding God in all things.|
|Secondly, I have been reading the Life of St. Vincent de Paul which is helping me to renew my love for the poor as a Bishop in the Church. I realize how careful we must be in doing good works of justice and in feeding the poor that we have a spirituality inspiring what we do.|
|Thirdly, I have read for a second time and studied more carefully Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation: THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL. I sent all the Priests, Deacons, and Pastoral Center leaders a copy of this magnificent document. I urgently request that you read and study it and pray over what the Holy Father says in it to us. I intend to use this Exhortation as a magna carta for evangelization in our Diocese for the remaining years in which I will serve as your bishop. We are a missionary Church. We have a mission. This is what Pope Francis says in the opening paragraph: “In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.”|
I have prayed for all of you while on retreat and I ask your prayers that my life and ministry will be fruitful in doing the work of The Lord.