April 12, 2024

It is a great gift to be able to greet you, the people of the diocese of Sioux Falls, in this my first Bishop’s Bulletin column. Through this means I hope to be able to share my thoughts with you on matters important to our faith journey. Let us travel towards heaven together.

There is a great saying that says, “Where the shepherd goes so does the flock.” If my heart is not set on fire with the love of God, how could I possibly lead you to the love of God and ultimately to heaven?

If I am not focused on God’s will, how can I in turn teach you how to follow God’s will? If my end goal isn’t heaven to be with all of you, God, and the angels and saints, how can I hope that we will get there?

You see, only God can give us His divine (spiritual) life. What our hearts long for is a deep loving relationship with God and others, now and in heaven. Without the outpouring of God’s divine life (grace), like when we receive the sacraments, we cannot experience the incredible gift and blessing of His life within us.

God’s amazing love has deeply convinced me that I am one of his beloved sons, priests and now bishops. He has captured my heart and I thank Him for that!

The nature of this type of godly love seeks the good of others. That is why the more we receive the love of God, the more we are able to love God, others and ourselves so our focus is outwardly toward God and others rather than seeking our own selfish desires.

The gift of godly love is something no one can create; it is a pure spiritual gift from God. That is why when people ask me what they can do for me, I often respond, “Pray that I am a holy bishop.”

A holy bishop is one whose focus is on God’s will rather than on himself.

A holy bishop receives and shares God’s love with others.

A holy bishop is willing to love God and others in the good times and the bad.

A holy bishop allows himself to be radically transformed by God’s grace (spiritual help) so what others encounter is God in and through the bishop. St. Paul allowed this to happen and said, “It is no longer I living but Christ living in me.”

My goal is to receive God’s love and to respond to that love. Responding to that love entails “losing myself in love of God and others.”

Now I get to do that for all you good folks, and knowing that God hears our prayers, that is why I ask for prayers—to be a holy bishop so together we can make our way to heaven through the love of God!

If I allow God’s grace and love to flow through me to you, we will all be invigorated with the amazing love of God which transforms us and others and fulfills the one thing that will satisfy the deepest longing of our heart.

Upward and onward we go to our eternal destiny of heaven.

Know of my prayers for all of you!