Publisher’s note: Below is the homily I preached during the Holy Mass Commemorating the 125th Anniversary of the Diocese of Sioux Falls celebrated at the Sioux Falls Arena
August 16, 2015.
Praise be Jesus Christ. Now and Forever. Praised be Jesus Christ for the 125 years of the local church of Sioux Falls. Praised be Jesus Christ for your presence today as we pray the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the source and summit of Christian life, of our faith.
As we celebrate this anniversary we do so with the underlying truth that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. With that hope-filled and consoling Truth in mind, this past year we have celebrated this anniversary with three purposes: to remember, honor and thank God for those who went before us; to learn of and learn from their history and experiences; and to look to the future with hope.
And so we remember, honor and thank God for your fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers, the lay men and women, clergy and consecrated, native and immigrant who with courage and sacrifice built and sustained the Church on the prairie and who bequeathed to us an inspiring Legacy of Faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Over this year we recalled: our roots beginning with our first Bishop Martin Marty in Yankton, consecrated life in Aberdeen, rural life in Woonsocket, Native American life in Marty, Catholic education and formation with nearly 4,000 Catholic school students here in this arena, the erection of the diocese in 1889 by Pope Leo XII and our patron and protector Saint Joseph at the Cathedral, culminating in these last several days of spiritual enrichment. The banners just displayed, lovingly created by so many, identified over 300 parishes, schools and institutions that have existed at one time or another in our diocese over the years. They are icons of the thousands of faithful who loved the Lord, persevered in faith and passed its beauty and its strength on to us. These banners are also reminders that change is ever-with-us and that we need the Church, the sacraments and the Magisterium as the stabilizing presence in the midst of constant change.
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