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Lent: Your relationship with Christ, others

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

February 15, 2023

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

A personal and societal condition has become increasingly evident. We are forgetting who we are, where we come from and where we are headed. Such amnesia is causing us to lose our bearings. The ramifications are becoming increasingly obvious and alarming. The remedy for such memory loss is not to be found in any pharmaceutical elixir. It’s found in strengthening our relationship with the God who made us, loves us to death, His death on the Cross, and promises eternal life to those who would follow Him.

Pope Benedict XVI once wrote: “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” By taking the time to listen and reflect on the Word of God, I learn more about my personal identity, both who I am and Whose I am. Our personal encounter with Jesus Christ is crucial. This Lent we want to re-energize our faith and develop an even more intimate relationship with Jesus through personal prayer and public worship. Prayer is not an activity of the human person but is God working within the pray-er. That’s why our prayer is so powerful and is critical in replacing the darkness of the world with life directed to the heavenly horizon.

As we begin this Holy Season of Lent, I encourage you to reflect on your relationship with Jesus and with the members of His Body, the Church. We recommit ourselves to the mission of the Church as passionate disciples in mission. We want to stay focused on our Diocesan Priorities of: Creating a Culture of Vocations, Strengthening Faith Formation in Family Life and Building Parishes with Living Stones.

Our efforts in addressing these priorities will help us answer questions of identity and mission. I encourage you to look for new ways to be active participants in the life of your parish. Thank you for being a source of loving support for your priests.

May the risen Lord accompany all of us on our journey of faith towards the light of Easter. Mary, Mother of our Redeemer, pray for us!

Faithfully yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Terry R. LaValley
Bishop of Ogdensburg

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