Bishop Dolan: A Winner?

07-31-2022Pastor's LetterFr. John Bonavitacola

We all want to wind up somewhere on purpose. The problem is that often we wind up somewhere and wonder: How did I get here? This is not where I want to be. So, one day you find your business filing for bankruptcy, or your spouse filing for divorce or your best friend no longer speaking to you. It happens to all of us in different ways, at different points. And it happens usually because we don’t define what success looks like or as I like to put it, we don’t define what a win looks like.

So, what would a win look like in your marriage? In your family life? In your financial affairs? If you say, well I stayed married to the creep for 50 years, that’s not a win. A win would be saying I stayed married to the person I love and who loves me. A win for family life would be having your children wanting their children to have a relationship with you or even making sure they live close by or next door. Good friends of mine define the win for finances, if when they prepare their income taxes, they were able to give more away the current year than the previous year.

So, if you want to get somewhere on purpose and get somewhere that you don’t want to be, then you have to first define what the win looks like, so you know what road to travel. We certainly do that with Faith. In the simplest terms, heaven is the win, so we walk the way of Jesus and hopefully we will end up there on purpose.

This week we will have a new Bishop for our Diocese. So, I’ve been thinking, what would the win look like for a Bishop? Leave the Diocese in better shape than he found it? Of course, but that’s a bit subjective. Open more parishes? Increase Mass attendance? Double enrollment at Catholic Schools? Maybe increase priestly vocations from the Valley (with all due respect to our international priests who serve us so well, we have to stop taking priests from other countries that need them as much as we do). More consecrated women? More women in leadership roles in the Diocese? And how about increasing the number of faithful disciples of Jesus? Or maybe being a living saint like Mother Teresa or John Paul II?

Whichever, pray for our new Bishop that he may be a gentle and humble shepherd and not be overwhelmed by the burdens of his Office. In the weeks and months ahead, we will see how Bishop Dolan defines the win for his episcopate. And remember what sometimes seems like a loss can actually be a win in God’s providence

Love, Fr. John B

PS. On Monday evening at a Vesper Service at the Cathedral with the priests and religious of the Diocese, Bishop Dolan will take possession of the Cathedral. Next day at 10:30am will be the Mass of Installation when Bishop Olmsted will hand over the Crozier, the Shepherd’s Staff to his successor. Bishop Olmsted will become Bishop Emeritus and Bishop Dolan, the 5th Bishop of our young Diocese.

You can watch the Installation Mass on AZTV Channel 7, YouTube, and Facebook .