Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
September brings so many new beginnings — the start of another school year, religious education programs and Church groups that have taken a summer hiatus begin anew. Of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, all of those “re-starts” have been affected. But the work of the Church continues, despite and because of the COVID-19 virus.
In so many ways, the ministries of the Church are needed even more. With the higher levels of unemployment, greater demand at our food pantries and the need for mental health services, the Church responds to these needs in creative and heroic ways. Over the past two weeks since my installation, I have had a few opportunities to witness and hear about how the Church in St. Louis responds to the crisis. On Sept. 5, the Missionaries of Charity and the good people of Sts. Teresa and Bridget Parish welcomed me to celebrate Mass for the Feast of St. Teresa of Kolkata.
After Mass, the sisters were kind enough to invite me to see the shelter for women and the beautiful facility in which they serve meals to the homeless. With the restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 virus, the sisters and their helpers pre-package the meals for pickup by people who are homeless and hungry. I was able to stop by to greet the workers in the kitchen who were preparing the delicious and hearty meals with joy and love for those whom they serve. What a powerful witness of the Church bringing the good news of Christ’s Kingdom here on earth.
As our students begin another school year, let us remember to pray for them and their families. With these complicated times, we keep all of our school administrators, religious educators and teachers in our prayers. Teaching and learning can be challenging enough, as we know, but given the complexities of our times, there are so many more challenges to be overcome. May our Divine Teacher, the Lord Jesus, be an inspiration to our teachers and students as they begin this school year!
On Sept. 6, a large gathering at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis honored the life of police officer Tamarris Bohannon, a husband and father of three young children who gave his life in service to the City of St. Louis. Officer Bohannon’s untimely death is a reminder of the dedication of our police, firefighters and emergency medical responders who are on the front lines of service in our various communities. We pray for them, that the intercession of St. Michael and St. Florian will keep them safe as they fulfill their duties in service to our communities.
As I greet different people along the way, they ask: “Archbishop, how are you adjusting to life in St. Louis?” I thank them for their concern and tell them that I already feel at home — your welcome has been so gracious. Thank you for your prayerful support!