Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! (Phil 4:4)
Jesus wants us to experience his joy in our lives. As we celebrate Gaudete Sunday, this is a day to rejoice in the Lord. We certainly have much cause for rejoicing. Our savior has come and will come again.
These days are full of special anticipation for me, and I look forward to being consecrated the fifth bishop of the Diocese Gary on Feb. 11, 2020, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. I feel blessed, grateful and joyful for the warm welcome I have already received in Gary.
My prayer during these days is that we will embrace the fullness of the life that Jesus offers us: to become a band of joyful missionary disciples. I am so grateful that Bishop Hying and the synod have given us a clear course to embrace the New Evangelization and, “Go Make Disciples.” I look forward to continuing to lead us to become disciples who make other disciples.
I owe joyful gratitude to Bishop Emeritus Dale Melzcek for his support over the years and during these past few weeks as I prepare to come to Gary. Our diocesan administrator, Father Michael Yadron, is a hardworking servant and has given me his wisdom and encouragement during these days.
There are plenty of material gifts that we could exchange at Christmas. The most important gift that we can give is to let others know the love of Jesus. His mercy, his care, his hope, his joy transforms our lives, our families, our parishes, our communities.
The following passage, which concluded a gathering of Latin American bishops (inspired in many ways by the bishop who would become Pope Francis), expresses the most important of gifts:
“Knowing Jesus is the best gift that any person can receive; that we have encountered him is the best thing that has happened in our lives, and making him known by our word and deeds is our joy.” (Aparecida, Brazil, 2007)
Let’s give the gift of Jesus this Christmas. I look forward to getting to know our local church and, together, sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ – to bring his joy to the world.
The Most Reverend Robert J. McClory
Diocese of Gary