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The Diocesan Census
Find Your Home in Christ... neighbor to neighbor

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

April 15, 2015

Soon, parishes throughout the North Country will conduct a door-to-door census of all the households within each parish. 

Bishop Wadhams, while reflecting on his assignment to be the first Bishop of this new Diocese of Ogdensburg, wrote:  “I know the task I have before me… this is a land of long distances.  The people cannot be reached by railways or stage-coaches.  Even good wagon-roads are few.  But I tell what I mean to do.  I shall get a good pony that will carry me anywhere; and you take my word for it, it will not be long before I visit every family; and every man and woman, barefooted boy and yellow-headed girl in my diocese will know me.  Yes, sir-ee!” (Early Ritualism…, 169, Walworth, 1893)

Bishop Wadhams’ goal is our goal. Yes, sir-ee!  This very ambitious undertaking is absolutely critical. So that we can invite others to find their home in Christ, we must know who they are and where they live, not proselytizing, but inviting them to know us and to join us in worship.

This census of every home in our parishes is crucial in addressing our diocesan priorities addressing vocations, family faith formation and pastoral planning. 

This newly acquired information will allow us to make good decisions about tomorrow. Neighbor to neighbor census taking is truly evangelization at work.  Such visits will increase your faith and confirm your own love for the Church.  It will energize your participation in the life of your parish. 

The census will remind your neighbors that the local Church is vibrant, that we seek to address their concerns and provide support for the local folk. 

As Pope Francis continually reminds us:  “we cannot passively and calmly wait in our Church buildings; we need to move from a pastoral ministry of merely conserving things [the way they have always been], to a decidedly missionary pastoral ministry.” (The Joy of the Gospel, #15, 2013)

Finally, we are hope-filled, knowing that this is God’s work with His Spirit as our constant companion.

You are vitally important in helping others to find their home in Christ:  renewing faith, nurturing hope and discovering anew God’s love for every one of us. 

Thank you so much for offering your time, your joy-filled, can-do attitude and, most importantly, for your prayers when your pastor seeks your assistance. 

God be with you as your parish family sets out on this exciting journey of our local Church.

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