Bishop Ricken closes Year of Mercy with Mass at Father Carr’s Place 2B

By Jaye Alderson | For The Compass | November 23, 2016

‘You’re living the Gospel,’ bishop tells Place 2B volunteers

OSHKOSH — Because of all the spiritual and corporal acts of mercy that are demonstrated each day of the year at Father Carr’s Place 2B, Bishop David Ricken chose to celebrate the diocese’s conclusion of the Jubilee Year of Mercy in the shelter’s chapel on Sunday evening, Nov. 20.

The special Mass, which fell on the feast of Christ the King, was also held to thank the Place 2B volunteers.

Bishop David Ricken, pictured with Deacon Peter Cheskie, celebrated Mass at Father Carr’s Place 2B in Oshkosh on Nov. 20 to mark the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. (Jeannette Merten | for The Compass)
Bishop David Ricken, pictured with Deacon Peter Cheskie, celebrated Mass at Father Carr’s Place 2B in Oshkosh on Nov. 20 to mark the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. (Jeannette Merten | for The Compass)

“This is our last official celebration as a diocese,” Bishop Ricken said. “The Holy Father made it clear that we may be closing the door, but we are opening up to mercy again. It’s been a blessing to me to see the works being done around the diocese.”

“More spiritual and corporal works of mercy are carried on here at the Place 2B in the name of the Christ,” he continued. “This Mass I’m offering for all of you and all the people who come here. I thank the Lord for your service and the gifts (you share with) people who are having a hard time.”

During this celebration year, focused on the saving mercy of Christ, Pope Francis called on all Catholics to be witnesses to mercy and render spiritual and corporal acts of mercy to others.

“This great tradition is overflowing with the love of God for you,” Bishop Ricken said. “He wants us to pass on this love to others. (At the Place 2B), you’re living the Gospel and striving to serve Jesus. The people who come here for help may not look like Jesus or act like Jesus, but they are Jesus.”

Bishop Ricken reflected on the Christ the King of the Universe theme, as well, noting how vast the universe is and how awestruck we should be with the power of God. “What kind of a God made all of that?” he asked. “Talk about power. Christ is called the King of the Universe. There’s good news, though. Someone that powerful loves us.”

Bishop David Ricken leads volunteers from Father Carr’s Place 2B in a prayer before dinner following the Mass he celebrated to close the Jubilee Year of Mercy on Sunday, Nov. 20. (Jeannette Merten | for The Compass)
Bishop David Ricken leads volunteers from Father Carr’s Place 2B in a prayer before dinner following the Mass he celebrated to close the Jubilee Year of Mercy on Sunday, Nov. 20. (Jeannette Merten | for The Compass)

He said that Jesus’ entire life was one of sacrifice and surrender, offering a better way of life. He said we should reflect on ways that we can live the virtues of his kingdom by living his way of faithfulness, forgiveness and mercy.

The main building of the Place 2B is the Mother Teresa Center, and Bishop Ricken said, “If you want to learn to be a merciful person, follow St. Teresa of Calcutta.” He quoted her as saying, “That greater purpose (of each life) is to love and be loved. It’s not how much we do but how much love we put into the doing.”

“The personal love Christ has for you is infinite,” Bishop Ricken said. “You are special to him. Jesus loves you tenderly. You are precious to him. Turn to Jesus with great trust and allow yourself to be loved by him.”

He then reminded them three times: “Jesus loves you. Jesus loves you. Jesus loves you.”

Bishop Ricken said God’s kingdom is one of selfless love, and people should recognize and accept in their lives the certainty of Jesus Christ in their thoughts, words and actions. The volunteers of the Place 2B show love for the people who come there for assistance, and they see the many faces of Jesus, Bishop Ricken said.

“(You are) the living mercy of Jesus and living the mercy of Jesus — both,” he said. People are suffering, hurting and wounded and they don’t believe God is real until someone shows them by feeding them, clothing them, helping them, he added.

“The merciful love and presence of Jesus is here with us all the year. Be aware of his presence, tap into it, experience his love and give his love to others by serving actions and prayers. … Together, we may discover the kingdom of God’s love among us.”

Nic Bur, president of the Place 2B, told the bishop and assembly after the Mass that the bishop’s message was especially meaningful for him and relevant to Fr. Martin Carr, founder of the Place 2B, who died in 2007.

Once, after a particularly hard work day, Bur and Fr. Carr were enjoying a late-night snack when a person entered who was obviously down on his luck. “Look, Nic,” Fr. Carr said to him. “It’s Jesus. Jesus just came through the door.”

Bur added, “When people come through our door as a guest, it’s Jesus coming through.”

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