"Open your hearts in welcome!" This is my rallying cry as I lead the Diocese of Little Rock, moving forward over the next 18 months.
We are experiencing changes in our diocese and we as Catholics and Christians need to be ready and responsive to these changes.
This special issue of Arkansas Catholic is being mailed to every registered Catholic household in the state to ensure everyone has an opportunity to read, study and pray about these changes.
My four priorities for our future are:
Welcoming the English translation of the Roman Missal, which takes effect Nov. 27. This is a more formal, literal translation from the Latin, similar to the translation we used just after Vatican Council II.
Both priests and laity will be asked to re-learn some of the prayers and responses. I have asked that adult education classes on the liturgy be offered in every parish this fall, and I encourage you to take advantage of opportunities in your area to learn about the reasons for these changes and deepen your understanding of the Mass.
Welcoming natural family planning for all engaged couples of child-bearing age. Currently 17 locations offer NFP courses and more teaching couples are being trained. An understanding and practice of NFP is the biggest single predictor of marital success.
Welcoming the newcomers in our midst. These newcomers include those joining the Church, immigrants, young adults and retirees who are new to the state and those who have left the Church and want to return. No place is more home for a Catholic than our parish church.
Welcoming the Lord's call in your life, including a possible call to the priesthood. We need more priests to continue to operate the parishes and ministries we currently have. About one-third of our diocesan priests are more than 70 years old. Even if all of our current 34 seminarians are ordained, we will continue to have a priest shortage. I pray all Catholics will open their hearts to hear and follow God's call.
Please read this special issue of Arkansas Catholic and learn more about exciting projects taking place in the Diocese of Little Rock.
If you don't already subscribe, also please use the enclosed subscription envelope to start getting the paper regularly. I would like to be able to communicate with you weekly about new developments and how God is working in this great state. Indeed the Lord is working among us today.
Bishop Taylor's audio homily will be played at all weekend Masses Sept. 10-11 and can be heard at www.dolr.org/bishop/openhearts.php. A two-part video recording of the homily can be also viewed on www.dolr.org/bishop/openhearts.php. These recordings promote the bishop's priorities for the next 18 months called "Open Your Hearts in Welcome."