My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
MERRY CHRISTMAS and a Blessed New Year to you, your family and friends! At this most beautiful and solemn time of year, I cannot help but reflect on all the past year has held and all the year to come will offer.
I was so fortunate this year to accompany over 100 faithful from the diocese on a pilgrimage to Philadelphia to see our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for the World Meeting of Families. His presence in the United States provided us all a closer look at a humble man, living out the love of Jesus in very visible ways.
Earlier this month, Pope Francis pushed open the doors at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, ushering in the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. We did the same here in the diocese at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in downtown Green Bay, at The Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion and at The National Shrine of St. Joseph on the campus of St. Norbert College.
During this special year, we are called to focus on the mercy and love of Jesus, something that Pope Francis models for us daily. This year will be one of special grace and forgiveness, pardoning of debts and bountiful gestures of compassion and generosity. Here in the Green Bay Diocese, I am encouraging you and your family to engage in regular prayer together and inviting you to attend Sunday Mass weekly at your parish or a parish near you.
As we continue to journey as Disciples on the Way, I invite all the faithful to dedicate their households to the Holy Family on Sunday, Dec. 27, the Feast of the Holy Family. Ask Jesus, Mary and Joseph to protect and guide you to a more prayerful home as individuals and families. Just as our bodies need daily food, we also need the food from the word of God and from the Bread of Life, found in the Eucharist, to keep us in good spiritual health.
The diocesan household prayer of dedication to the Holy Family can be found on page 3. I invite all in the diocese to consider making this dedication to strengthen yourself, your family and your greater faith community.
As the famous saying goes, “The family that prays together stays together.” We are one family in Christ and love unites us all. May God bless you, your families and all households today and throughout this Year of Mercy.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
+ Most Reverend David L. Ricken
Bishop of Green Bay