“We are called upon to lay new foundations broader and deeper – to plant seeds for larger growth, that the tree‘s branches will spread out that you and your children may sit beneath its shade and partake of its refreshing fruit.” Bishop John McCloskey, 1847
With those words spoken 170 years ago on the day of his installation as first Bishop of Albany, John McCloskey looked to the future for his newly established Church with hope and immense faith in God.
Today, we the Catholic people of the Diocese of Albany, some 350,000 strong, are the inheritors of a legacy rich in deeds and accomplishments, of service to the poor, teaching scores of children, caring for the sick and the elderly, raising families, passing on the light of faith, faith in Jesus Christ and love for His Church, from generation to generation.
Today, across the 14 counties of our vast diocese, 126 parishes continue this story of faith. Surely the world and the Church have changed in many ways over many years but what remains unchanged, constant and unwavering are the Gospel truths of Jesus Christ and the joy and grace of knowing Him.
While the Church at all levels has and continues to face challenges, boundless opportunities and options exist to grow, share and celebrate our Catholic faith, to share with others, as Pope Francis says “The Joy of the Gospel.” The Gospel mission entrusted to us by our Lord Jesus Christ to love and to serve others is brought to life every day by dedicated people in all our parishes throughout our diocese who radiate joy, compassion and faith in Almighty God.
We need to keep our Church fresh, vibrant and welcoming rather than sit idly by keeping the faith to ourselves and only for ourselves, watching our numbers grow fewer with each passing year. Now is the time for us to seize the opportunity to rededicate ourselves to our baptismal vows and be active witnesses for Jesus in our own day to open hearts to the truths of His Gospel. Like as in lighting the Easter Fire and passing it flame by flame from one to another, let us together keep the light of Christ burning ever brighter still. Let us go forth and together build for the future . Let us and Re-ignite our Faith!