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SIOUX CITY, IA (51105)
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A JOYFUL SPIRIT
Bringing other into a rich, saving
personal relationship with Jesus

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

May the blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ fill your hearts with peace and grace!

As we begin again another school year, with all the learning and activities that this means in our homes, schools, and parishes, let us turn with hope to the infinite, gentle love of our Lord. As we celebrate the holy sacraments of the church, Christ has given us the primary means of receiving his mercy and love, of growing in faith, and of becoming his helpers in spreading the gospel throughout the world.

Always remember that everything we do in our worship of God, and in the education and evangelization of both youth and adults, is aimed at bringing people into a rich, saving personal relationship with Jesus himself, who gives us mercy and an abundance of love.

Please pray for those who do this holy work every day, especially parents, the first educators and evangelizers of their children, and for all our clergy, teachers and catechists, who help parents hand on the faith.

Next week, on Aug. 27, we celebrate the feast of St. Monica, who gives us a profound example of this hopeful, patient, persistent love for her children. She raised her son, Augustine, as a Catholic, only to see him wander away from the church when he went away to school.

How many of our own children do the same, in high school or college? For the better part of two decades, Augustine remained outside the church, while St. Monica prayed every day for his conversion.

Finally, attracted by the sacred liturgy and excellent preaching of St. Ambrose of Milan, Augustine allowed himself to listen to God’s voice, and his mother’s. Spurred by such examples of holy living, he finally consented to examine his life and let the Holy Spirit change his heart. He became a monk, and eventually a priest and bishop, and we know him now as St. Augustine, one of our greatest saints.

This example teaches us two things. First, as the old saying goes, we catch more flies with honey. We, who have the task from our baptism and confirmation of handing on the Catholic faith to others, must cultivate a joyful, inviting, meaningful faith.

If we are grumpy and mean-spirited, who will want to share our faith? If we are selfish with our ministries and don’t invite others to minister with us, who will be attracted to our church? If our faith is just routine, or just for Sunday and not for every day, what point will people see in converting?

In order to cultivate a joyful, inviting, and meaningful faith, certain things are essential. We must stay close to the prayer and liturgy of the church, especially those aspects that tradition teaches us make the liturgy holy and attractive.

This means, for example, hymns whose music is not banal or worldly, and whose words aren’t heretical or trite. This means reverence for the Eucharist, by keeping the Blessed Sacrament in the center of our church (so it can really be the center of our lives), and by how we act and dress when we’re in its true presence, and how reverently we receive It. This means periods of silence in the liturgy, and before and after Mass. This means praying every day in our homes, and even when we’re in public.

For our priests and deacons, it means good preaching, with plenty of time devoted to preparing homilies that have the power of the Holy Spirit in them. Good preaching catches fire in people’s hearts, and helps them understand and live the faith more intentionally.

We must also stay close to the saints, especially Blessed Mary, whose glorious Assumption – a promise to each of us of our eternal destiny, unless we reject it by sinful living – we celebrated last week.

Finally, it means that we must actually make the effort to live the faith, especially in its moral teachings, every day. This is not always easy, certainly, but the struggle to follow everything the church teaches will be seen by others, and admired by those open to the voice of God in their hearts.

Second, St. Monica teaches us never to give up. Not only for the conversion of our children, but also for the conversion of our culture, we must be persistent in prayer, and confident in the power of God’s mercy and grace – in spite of how difficult of hopeless it may sometimes seem! And the conversion of our culture is not some abstract thing that happens behind the scenes, regardless of what we do. Rather, it is simply the sum of our impact as Catholics in the world.

When we live our faith devoutly in public, especially in our work places and in the marketplace, we shape a culture of life and mercy. Conversely, we contribute to a culture of sin, even of death, whenever we hide our faith out of fear or laxity or laziness, or because bad laws tell us we’re supposed to leave our faith at the door, or for any reason.

We’ve often heard the rhetorical question, “If you were on trial for being a follower of Christ, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”

We should all be striving to live our lives in such a way that there is no doubt in our neighbor’s mind that we follow Jesus Christ, and that doing so is what makes us joyful and inviting, loving and compassionate.

Every day is an opportunity for our own conversion, for turning more fully to Jesus Christ and beginning again to follow him with our whole heart. St. Paul says that we console others only by the consolation we have received from Christ. May his love and faith increase in us, so that we may offer it by how we live to all those around us!

St. Monica and St. Augustine, pray for us!

Your brother in Christ,

Most Reverend R. Walker Nickless
Bishop of Sioux City

schedule

Bishop Nickless schedule for August 22 to September 7

August 22 – Sioux City Celebration of Mass, blessing of the new chapel and consecration of the altar,
4 p.m., Bishop Heelan High School

August 23 – Sioux City Celebration of Mass and Bishop’s Circle Membership Gathering, 4 p.m.,
St. Joseph Church

August 24 – Ayrshire Celebration of Mass and 125th Anniversary, 10:30 a.m., Sacred Heart Church

September 1-2 – Los Angeles, CA Jesus Caritas Meeting

September 7 – Laurens Project Andrew Dinner, 5 p.m., Sacred Heart Church

 

8-21-14: Bringing others into a rich, saving personal relationship with Jesus

8-7-24: Friendships with the saints

7-24-14: Seek Christ’s peace, justice

6-26-14: Thanks for priesthood, blessing of freedom

6-12-14: Pentecost offers an opportunity for transformation in our hearts

5-29-14: Holy Spirit does not come to visit us one day a year; he is always present

5-15-14: Celebrating mothers, Mary in May

4-17-14: Lenten pilgrimage reaches its end

4-3-14: Carry the cross: Lenten journey brings sacrifices, but don't sacrifice religious freedom

3-20-14: Live vocations joyfully, faithfully

3-6-14: Beginning the pilgrimage of Lent

2-20-14: Lent a time of preparation, renewal, rededication

2-6-14: Our Super Bowl goal is heaven

1-23-14: Striving to bring light and love of Jesus Christ to all

1-9-14: Ordinary time is anything but ordinary

12-19-13: Behold the saving power of the helpless infant

12-5-13: 'Put on Christ' more thoroughly this Advent

11-21-13: Year of Faith brings many blessings for diocese

11-7-13: No simple answer to complexity of HHS mandate

10-17-13: Preparing for our spiritual winters

10-3-13: Preaching the Gospel with whole lives

9-19-13: Work for peace in our own hearts

9-5-13: Church offers unique vision on subject of immigration

8-22-13:The Blessed Virgin Mary invites us to entrust her with daily concerns

7-25-13:Faith, example of Christ teach us daily duties have important spiritual benefits

7-11-13: Rule of St. Benedict: Vision built on foundation of prayer and work

6-27-13: Bishop says: If you do not witness faith consistently, you may lose it

6-13-13: Bishop encourages: 'Diligently seek Christ'

5-16-13: Spring brings Pentecost and graduations

5-2-13: Christ remains present to us through Catholic Church

4-4-13: Celebrating the Easter octave: Rejoicing in the risen Lord

3-21-13: Easter Blessings: Resurrection can transform the world

3-7-13: Faith and Hope: Pray for College of Cardinals, those entering the church

2-21-13: Lenten season: Time to be shaken out of regular routines

2-7-13: Lenten season: Use time to grow in faith, hope and love

1-24-13: Many special events slated for coming weeks

1-10-13: Year of Faith: Make time for prayer in the new year

12-20-12: The joyful anticipation of Christ’s birth

11-29-12: Preparing internally, externally during Advent

11-1-12: Path to holiness is simple and clear

10-18-12: Be willing to live and die as true followers of Christ

10-4-12: Strengthen and renew relationship with Jesus during Year of Faith

9-20-12: Gospel can heal, unify: divisions in culture and politics

8-23-12: Form consciences according to teachings of Christ

8-9-12: Stay strong in fidelity to vocation

7-26-12: All in need of continuing conversion and closeness to Christ

7-12-12: July closes Fortnight for Freedom, brings pastor changes

6-28-12: Bishop addresses important church and national topics

6-14-12: Give generously to Peter's Pence

5-31-12: Two ordinations and national campaign on agenda

5-17-12: Mary leads us to her son Jesus

4-19-12: Sharing Easter blessings and urging support of religious freedom

4-5-12: Easter Alleluia: Message spreads light, hope and joy

3-22-12: Back from Rome, work continues to stop HHS contraception mandate

3-8-12: Collection to Support Catholic relief agencies

2-23-12: Lenten Message: Turn to Jesus through prayer, fasting, good works

2-9-12: Time to rid life of Catholic compromises and deny temption of the devil

2-9-12: Lent: Time to build solidarity with the poor

1-26-12: Bishop addresses serious topics related to threats on life

1-26-12: Catholic schools teach faith, academics and service

1-12-12: All share common vocation to holiness

12-22-11: Supporting Catholic Charities

12-8-11: Advent: How our preparations poing to Christ

11-24-11: Advent prepares the faithful for the coming of Jesus

11-10-11: Making announcement as Bishop of Sioux City

10-27-11: Giving glory to God, honoring holy men and women

9-29-11: October brings various life issues to forefront

9-15-11: Holy Eucharist: Christ’s entire body, blood, soul, divinity present

9-1-11: Keehe sanctiping tty of marriage at the forefront

8-18-11: May new school year allow youth to grow in wisdom and grace

7-21-11: Reflections on appointment to diocese, generosity of people

6-23-11: Bishop answers questions about recent meeting

6-9-11: Summer brings a time of change, for better or worse

5-12-11: Wishing parishioners a joy-filled Easter season

4-14-11: Journey to Easter: Darkness makes way for new light

3-17-11: The promise of glory provides hope during Lent

3-3-11: Striving to live up to the promises of the Cross

2-3-11: The inestimable gift of the holy sacraments

1-20-11: Bishop celebrates five years of ministry in diocese

1-6-11: Vocations Awareness Week: Everyone has at least on clear vocation from God

12-16-10: Christmas joy: Our Lord among us

12-2-10: Advent season brings hope

11-4-10: November: Celebrating saints, praying for dead and giving thanks

10-21-10: Participate in election with Christ as guide

9-23-10: Catholic Charities Sunday set for Sept. 26

9-9-10: Hold firmly to precious gift of faith

8-12-10: Bishop addresses current issues: Immigration and same-sex marriage

7-15-10: Church can support couples in forming holy, happy marriages

7-1-10: Summer brings chance to rejuvenate body and spirituality

5-20-10: Practicing virtures of humility and modesty

5-6-10: Bishop Nickless reflects on joyous occasions, immigration

4-22-10: Bishop Nickless addresses sacramentals and indulgences

3-25-10: EASTER: The center of God's plan for salvation

3-11-10: Instill hearts with committed foundation for paschal joy

2-25-10: Bishop addresses vocations, marriage life issues and health care

2-11-10: LENT: Special time to wean lives of sin

1-28-10: Grasping meaning of suffering creates source of hope

1-14-10: Bishop addresses social and faith issues

11-20-08: Bishop gives thanks for blessings

11-13-08: Give thanks for God’s blessings

11-6-08: Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran, bishops to meet in Baltimore

10-30-08: Called to die to self, live only in Christ

10-23-08: Belonging to God and what that means

10-16-08: Church continues mission of Christ by rejecting culture of death

10-9-08: October - a busy month

10-2-08: Life is a gift of God's love

9-18-08: The Word of God in life and mission of church

9-11-08: Thoughts on life issues and faith education

9-4-08: VOTING: Understanding the issues at stake

 

 

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