Let us pray hard and work hard for a better 2021
As I write this column for our diocesan paper I am quarantined at home with COVID. I started having symptoms New Year’s Day and tested positive a couple days later. So, I am living proof that we aren’t done with the Coronavirus yet. I’m thankful that my symptoms have been pretty moderate but can attest that this virus is not to be taken lightly. My experience of COVID has helped me have a deeper compassion for those who have struggled with this illness these past months and those who still fear coming down with it. With vaccines now becoming available, may we soon be able to put this pandemic in the rearview mirror. Speaking of vaccines, please take a look at the joint statement Bishop DeGrood and I put out addressing moral concerns about the development and testing of the two vaccines now available in the United States. It is available on our diocesan website www.rapidcitydiocese.org/covid-19-vaccines/.
Unfortunately, the New Year has also featured continuing civil unrest in our nation. As followers of Jesus Christ and good Catholics we believe in the importance of the common good and should always treat others with respect — even those we have serious disagreements with. After all, the Lord himself teaches us to love our enemies. Let us pray and work hard for our communities, state and nation and not be duped by the Evil One’s temptations to violence and division. Let us watch our tongues and speech and remember another important principle of our Catholic faith: “in all things charity.”
This month also marks another sad anniversary of Roe v.Wade. In a culture that seems to value human life less and less, you and I are called to stand for the sacred dignity of every human person beginning from conception until natural death. The unborn have no way to defend themselves, so the Lord calls on you and me to defend them. After so many years of justifying the taking of unborn human life are we surprised that we devalue human life at its other stages more and more?
Featured in this issue of the West River Catholic is the annual financial report for our diocese. Our diocese has had a challenging year for a number of reasons: the wait for a new bishop, the Coronavirus, and the economic ups and downs of our agricultural and natural resource economy, to name just a few. I am grateful for everything all the members of our West River Catholic community did to keep our important ministries going during challenging times. Our people’s spiritual, physical, emotional, and pastoral needs do not go down in challenging times — just the opposite — and I am grateful for your support of our programs and ministries.
My prayers for many blessings in this new year for you and your families and friends.
+Bishop Peter M. Muhich
Diocese of Rapid City