September 8, 2019
Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As we begin the Autumn Season and the new school year, it is always important to call to mind the command that Jesus gave to His Apostles: “Go out to all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you, and know that I am with you always, even until the end of the ages” (Mt. 28:20). During these challenging times in the Church, and in the midst of the general sense of discord and discontent in much of our society, it is now more critical than ever that we allow His words to permeate our hearts and to seek the grace of the Holy Spirit to strengthen our faith and spur us to answer His call to be missionary disciples.
As the Local Church of the Diocese of Kalamazoo, we also must respond to the Lord’s command to move forward in furthering the Church’s salvific mission, and in fulfilling with conviction the call to be those missionary disciples of Jesus here in Southwest Michigan. Mindful that everything should begin and end in Christ, especially in the wondrous gift of His Real Presence in the Eucharist, it is with great joy that I am convening a Diocesan Eucharistic Congress. The theme of this Congress is “Ignite the Faith”, and it will be held on Saturday, October 19, 2019, at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo. I warmly invite everyone to join together for this Spirit-filled day in the Presence of our Eucharistic Lord. Our day will begin by celebrating the Holy Mass together, followed by an opportunity to listen to inspiring exhortations on the mission in which we all share through our Baptism as members of the Body of Christ. Those who come will have a chance to grow in our Catholic Faith and to be inspired by a number of dynamic speakers on a variety of topics, including carrying out the apostolic mission of the Church in the modern world, being a Church that is a vibrant Family of Faith for all people, especially the marginalized and those in need, and reaching out in loving service to our neighbors and extended local communities. We will conclude our day with Benediction and a Solemn Procession of the Most Blessed Sacrament to remind us that Jesus is always with us on our journey of faith.
I urge each of you to prayerfully consider participating in this very special day. There is no charge so that all the Faithful can attend, especially those who are, or would like to be, engaged in the outreaches and apostolates of their local parish families. Childcare will be available for $10 per family, for those with small children. More information and registration can be found at our Diocesan website www.diokzoo.org/congress.
As we look forward to celebrating our Golden Jubilee as a Diocese in 2021, we also turn our gaze with great hope in Jesus to the next fifty years and beyond. This grace-filled moment of a first-ever Eucharistic Congress in the history of the Diocese gives us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to collectively place our Diocese’s future in the hands of our Eucharistic Lord and to truly “Ignite the Faith” in the hearts of all believers. United in this shared vision, and motivated by our love for Jesus, truly Present in the Eucharist, we will be able to move forward to accomplish the very same mission that Jesus entrusted to His Apostles. Please join me as we help one another to “Ignite our Faith” in Jesus Christ and to illuminate our world that so desperately needs Him. If you are unable to join us in person, please join us in prayer, asking the Lord to enkindle the Gifts of His Holy Spirit and to shower His abundant blessings upon this Eucharistic Congress, so that it might bear fruit now and for future generations.
Asking our Loving God to bless you and your families, and relying on your prayers as we move forward in joyful hope, I remain,
Faithfully yours in Christ,
Most Rev. Paul J. Bradley
Bishop of Kalamazoo