Bishop's Lenten Message - 2013

As we begin this time of Lent, preparing our hearts to celebrate Easter, we ask the Holy Spirit to lead us through the desert, with our eyes fixed on the promised land.

This year, we observe Lent during a remarkable moment in the history of the Church. Pope Benedict has announced that he will leave the Chair of Peter on 28 February. The Cardinals will then meet to choose a successor.

We thank God for the ministry of Benedict XVI. He did not seek the office, but has served in it wholeheartedly and unselfishly. His sense of what the Church needs from the Pope, set against a realistic assessment of his failing capacity, has led him to take this bold initiative.

This is also a time to pray for the Cardinal electors, that they too would accept the guidance of the Holy Spirit, with their eyes fixed on the Kingdom of God. And this is the time to begin praying for the man that they will choose to be our Pope.

And let’s pray for ourselves, that we might better understand the gift of the ministry of the successor of Peter. He is only the Pope. There are some things he can do and some things he can’t. There are some things that only he can do, so he must do them or they will not be done.

The same goes for you and me, remembering the Christian responsibilities that each of us has. Our coming Diocesan Assembly has this simple aim: to inspire and educate more Catholics to take up their share of the Church’s mission. To build new structures of opportunity for service, worship and proclamation.

During Lent, each parish will choose its representatives for the Assembly. Everyone is invited to begin reflecting on the outline questions that are the first step in our process. Don’t hold back: ask your parish priest how you can become involved. Begin following the process as it develops on the diocesan website. There are some things that only you can do, so you must do them, or they will not be done.

God bless our Lenten pilgrimage this year.

+M J McKenna
Bishop of Bathurst

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