This evening, Bishop Tobin made a pastoral visit to St. Timothy’s parish to offer the parish community his support. The following is a reflection that the Bishop shared:
Brothers and sisters, thank you so much for joining us in prayer this evening. We gather in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord Jesus to pray for guidance, grace and peace. In so doing, we find the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament comforting and reassuring.
We are also reassured by the words of Jesus from St. John’s Gospel: “I have called you friends . . . As the Father loves me, so also I love you. Remain in my love.”
In our life’s journey – as individuals, in your own families, as a parish, and as a Church – we have learned that there are times of light and darkness. There are good days and bad days; moments of joy and sorrow, success and failure, victory and defeat, life and death. These peaks and valleys are an inescapable part of our earthly pilgrimage.
And life is full of change – your life, and mine, is not exactly the same now as it was 20 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years ago, or even last year for that matter. And your life, and mine, will continue to change in the days and years to come. And so it is with the Church, as we travel through history and pass through the years.
In the midst of this ever-changing landscape, in the midst of the peaks and valleys, the joys and the sorrows that come our way – where do we find some degree of stability? Where do we find the strong foundation on which to build the edifice of our lives?
The answer of course is in our Catholic Faith. Our faith is the strong foundation on which we build our lives. Our faith is the North Star that gives us a sense of direction should we become lost or confused. It’s the harbor that welcomes us home and gives us shelter to survive the storms of life. And it’s the key that unlocks for us the doors to heaven when at last our journey on earth has ended.
Our faith is critical, for it reminds us that in the midst of our challenges, our disappointments and our sorrows, we will find comfort and peace in God alone. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want; besides restful waters He leads me; He refreshes my soul,” we pray in Psalm 23. “As the Father has loved me so also I love you. I call you friends,” Jesus said to us in the Gospel.
Jesus always takes care of his people. When the waves were turbulent and the Apostles were frightened, He calmed the storm at sea; when his people were hungry, He fed them; when they were ill, He cured them; when they were searching for truth, He taught them; when they were mired in a sinful life, He forgave them; when they were anxious and uncertain about the future, He gave them peace; and when they feared the ultimate reality of death, He gave them the hope of eternal life.
The presence and care of Jesus Christ found in His life and ministry is fulfilled in a very perfect way in the Holy Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament. In this holy sacrament, Christ is present among us tonight.
So, we come together tonight to humbly approach Jesus and to ask for his healing and peace. Let us approach Him confidently. We have nothing to fear. After all, Jesus has called us his friends.
And we come to pray. We pray first of all for Fr. Barry Meehan whom we carry in our hearts and minds with respect and affection. We also pray for Fr. O’Hara, a truly good shepherd for you during a difficult time of transition. And we pray for your new pastor, Fr. Andrew Messina, who will come into your midst very eager to love you and serve you.
We pray for all the members of St. Timothy Parish, and all the parishes of the Diocese of Providence. We pray too for all people around the world, in our own nation, and in our own community who suffer in any way – the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the unemployed, the immigrant, the imprisoned, all victims of abuse and addiction.
Brothers and sisters, together we have just experienced and survived a dangerous winter storm – a blizzard with crippling snow and damaging winds. I too lost power for 24 hours, and in the midst of the cold and dark night I wondered when it would end. But it did, and as surely as we gather here tonight, we know that the snow will melt, the sun will reappear and spring will soon be upon us.
And while St. Timothy Parish has also recently experienced some difficult days, we can be sure, that here too the sun will reappear and this parish community will have a new springtime. Our faith in Jesus Christ tells us that it will be so.
As we kneel before the Lord Jesus Christ, on this eve of another Lenten Season, a blessed time of grace and peace, let us repent of our sins, be reconciled to God, and renew our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is forever, our light and our salvation.