So yesterday was the first Sunday of Lent. I don’t know what it is, but the church is always packed on the first Sunday of Lent. People just seem to come out of the woodwork.
The first Sunday of Lent is also the day that the entire diocese has to read the bishop’s appeal to fund the diocese for the year.
Coincidence? I think not.
There are many reasons why the first week of Lent is very appropriate. First of all, I mean, it IS Lent. Shouldn’t we have to talk a little about our charity? Of course we should. Doesn’t the diocese need support? You bet it does. Don’t we all have a duty to help support it? I certainly feel we do.
It shows a deep level of sophistication too. I mean, the bishop never makes his appeal for dough on Ash Wednesday. There simply aren’t enough people showing up to fill the coffers. For the same reason, you won’t see it the week before Lent, there just aren’t enough people actually there.
No, the bishops choose this day, because it just makes good financial sense, without crowding out the too important holidays, like Easter or Christmas.
This is of course, a brilliant move, but it begs the question, “Why if we can be so thoughtful and methodical about cold hard cash, can we not use that same sense of reason for the spiritual health of our people?”
First off, let me say that my bishop is phenomenal, and many other bishops across the county are as well, but on the whole, it is uncommon that I see bishops really using the same amount of thought and energy towards the spiritual health of their dioceses as they do for the almighty dollar. I know the dollar is important, don’t get me wrong. We need to keep the diocese running, but can’t the diocese just hire smart folks to do that? Yes, the bishop needs to make the end decisions, but does it really need to take so much time that most of their diocese only gets to see them once every couple of years?
This is one of my great concerns. I have a deep and sincere love and respect for the office of bishop. I feel honored that God loves us so much that he sent us shepherds to watch over us for all time.
I just wish they would take the time to be more like shepherds, and less like accountants. I have an accountant. We can hire administrators. These people can be found anywhere.
There is only one bishop.
I highly doubt my little blog will ever be read by a bishop, but just in case it is, here are my two cents your excellency.
We love you and we need you. Please hire great people to run the diocese, but we need you pastorally. We need to see you, to know you are really present, and really care. You are our connection to the rest of the Church, and without your presence, we have great lack, and great division.
Be bold, be present, be faithful, and we will follow.