The Christmas season has come to an end and, the New Year has begun. The decorations have come
down, and the trees have been put away. What a graced season it has been. After the consecration of our
diocese to Our Lady on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, I am excited what Our Lady will help us
with throughout this coming year if we keep turning in faith to her for assistance.
My heart cries out as Mary’s did, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in
God my Savior, for He has looked with favor on his lowly servant.” God has truly blessed me in life and
ministry over the past year, and many of those blessings have come through all of you. I give thanks to
God for your prayers, your support and your faith. We anticipate with great hope the Lord’s continued
blessings and give thanks to him for his faithfulness.
The beginning of each year has many of us thinking about New Year resolutions, with great resolve and
determination to set a new course for ourselves. New Year resolutions should in some way impact our
lives in a positive way and bring us blessings, otherwise we wouldn’t resolve to do them in the first
In reflecting upon the life of the whole diocese, I have come up with resolutions guaranteed to bring
God’s blessings upon us as individuals, your families, your parish community, and our diocese. All of
them may not apply to everyone, but I suspect most of them will apply to all of us, and like prayer, they
all begin with desire, determination, and discipline. My “10 Best New Year Resolutions” are as follows:
- A deeper relationship and intimacy with God comes about through personal prayer. Spend
at least 30 minutes of quiet alone time with God every day, perhaps in Eucharistic Adoration in
- Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Exercise at least three times a week, and eat and drink nutritionally and in moderation.
- Many children are brought to Religious Education classes but are not brought to Mass. Bring your children to Mass each week so that they can experience the Lord’s love through the Eucharistic celebration. Their baptism gives them a right to it, and their salvation depends upon it.
- Novels are great to read and are very entertaining. But make time for spiritual reading. It will deepen your faith and bring growth to your spiritual life.
- Decide to become an “intentional” disciple. It requires planning and discipline. But it will enhance your life in ways that you cannot imagine. That is a promise! Perhaps begin by making a personal retreat this year.
- “A family that prays together stays together.”Make time each day to have family prayer time other than a prayer at meals or before bedtime. Pray the rosary together, or read the daily scriptures together and talk about them.
- By the nature of our baptism, we are called to holiness. It can’t happen without God’s forgiveness. Make the sacrament of penance an important and frequent part of your spiritual life.
- Statistics show that less than 10 percent of the people in the parish give 80 percent of the financial contributions and provide 80 percent of the stewardship opportunities. Increase your weekly tithe by 1 percent and take advantage of more discipleship/stewardship opportunities in your parish. You are needed! Are you giving back to God in proportion to the way that God has blessed you?
- There are many Catholics who do not attend Mass anywhere on Sunday. Bring a friend to church.
- Pray DAILY for your bishop. HE NEEDS IT!
If these resolutions are embraced and put into practice, the year 2014 will be richly blessed for you, your
family, your parish, and our diocese, guaranteed. The above resolutions will change your lives. I believe
that all of us can find ways to grow in our faith and love of God and teach our children what it means to
be Catholics in a committed relationship with the Lord. God’s deepest blessings await us! Best wishes
on your New Year resolutions, and may you experience the fullness of the riches that God desires to
give you this New Year.
“You open your hand, O Lord, and you satisfy the desires of every living thing” (Ps. 145:16)