It is always difficult to put into words how much I appreciate the people of western Kentucky!
In October 2021 every diocese around the world began their participation in the Synod on Synodality. It has been one of my deepest honors over the past few months to hear the input from your parish listening sessions and then to be with so many of you in person at the regional listening sessions. I heard you give voice to your dreams for the Church, to the things you treasure the most about our Church as well as the things that cause you heartache. Underscoring all of what I heard was a sense of your great love for the Church, your parish communities, and Jesus Christ. I was moved once again by the passion and deep faith of the people I have been called to serve in the Diocese of Owensboro.
Every age faces its own unique challenges. For those of us in the Diocese of Owensboro at this moment, some of our greatest challenges include the ongoing struggle with COVID, the horrible effects of the December 2021 tornadoes, school shootings, war, and even the political division that tries to divide our nation and continues to try and rob us of our joy and our faith in God and our Catholic Church. But in my meetings with you over the past few months, I encountered over and over again a people of faith who want to be heard and who want to live out their call to holiness.
I have seen your desire to grow in your relationship with Jesus and to be the beacons of hope that our world needs. While we will always have much work to do as a Church, I came away from my encounters with you with a renewed sense of your deep faith and your desire for holiness.
This is the time of year when I ask for your annual financial generosity to the Disciples Response Fund. This Fund is vital for providing the outreach and ministries that are so essential to carrying out the mission of the Church. A parish representative will either read or play an audio tape of my DRF message on the weekend of September 25th. That weekend we will hear a powerful Gospel story of generosity. For all of us that believe in Christ, generosity is not an option, but a part of the Spirit’s work in our lives.
We continue to be strong resources for our parishes and schools. We were asked to coordinate most of the disaster relief efforts from the December 10th tornadoes that traveled through our Diocese. Families are still without homes and jobs and they are grieving the loss of family, friends, and neighbors. It will take years of love and charity to ease the suffering.
In addition, we are ministering to the homeless shelters throughout the area. We educate our seminarians, support our retired priests, subsidize the Gasper River Catholic Youth Camp (which serves thousands), subsidize our Catholic Schools throughout the diocese, sponsor marriage enrichment programs, adult education, parish council/leadership retreats, and I could go on. Your generosity and faithfulness to the Disciples Response Fund help make this possible. We work hard to use your dollars wisely and make available resources for every parish and school in this Diocese. And the giver is always blessed by their generosity.
Thank you for your commitment to carrying out the role you have been given in continuing the mission that Jesus left to us as a Church and the mission you were given in your Baptism. It is up to each of us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, which the world so desperately needs.
Thank you for your continuing commitment.
Yours in Christ,
Most Reverend William F. Medley
Bishop for the Diocese of Owensboro