August 15, 2013
Feast of the Assumption
The exigencies of transition have delayed my writing to you since my return to Louisville. More about transition later in this letter. First I want to express my deepest gratitude to you for your many messages of congratulations. May I ask for your continued prayers and support? The new General Council, General Administrative Staff and I are eager to serve the congregation. We will work together with each of you to bring about the directives of the General Chapter. With your continued prayers and engagement with the life and mission of our congregation, it is my sincere hope that we will “march on together in trust,” knowing the Spirit is with us.
It is providential that I am writing this letter to you on the feast of Mary’s Assumption. Theological insights to the Assumption I have not. I do not understand it. It is mystery. I first embraced this mystery as a child. My devotion to Mary was formed by my grandmother and the Redemptorist Fathers at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Brooklyn. With great affection I recall the Wednesday novenas and the hymns to our Mother of Perpetual Help.
Many years later this same affection for Mary came back during the Holy Friday service at Saint Michael Orthodox Church in Louisville. Stephen, a Saint Xavier student, invited me to worship at his church. The three hour service was so reverent that it seemed like it only lasted 20 minutes. A feeling of the sacred permeated the chanting. My heart was stirred with a familiar affection when I caught sight of an icon of what appeared to be Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I shared my experience with Stephen who told me the Orthodox call Mary, Theotokos, God-bearer.
Today’s Gospel recalls the story of Mary, the God-bearer, visiting her cousin Elizabeth who was also with child. Mary’s response to Elizabeth’s greeting, “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior’ speaks of Mary’s great trust, love and humility. Mary’s response to God’s gift, “Let your will be done,” reveals great trust. Her desire to minister to Elizabeth reveals great love and humility.
With Mary as our Mother and model of trust, love and humility, I pray that we continue to let our lives proclaim that we live for God and God alone. May we be God-bearers to others through our lives of prayer, community and service.
The gift you have received, give as a gift.
Theodore James Ryken has given us a wonderful gift—our charism. Together let’s continue to give our charism to whom it is intended—our Church and our world.
Now back to transition. I intend to be established in Baltimore no later than October 12th. Right now I am working at St. X with the Learning Differences Program meeting with parents, writing portraits of strengths and needs and processing applications for extended time on the ACT. The Administration, Perry Sangalli and Frank Espinosa, are looking for my replacement.
I will be traveling to Baltimore for transition meetings with the General Administration that will focus on pastoral needs, finance, development and sponsored ministries. In the next several weeks, I will also be meeting with the members of the General Council from the United States, (John Hamilton, Vicar, Paul Murray and Dan Skala) to start identifying an initial plan to respond to the directives of the General Chapter. We will discuss the plan at our first meeting of the General Council in early December.
In the next couple of weeks, I will send you a set of the Chapter Directives. For your awareness, I am communicating with Kenya and Congo by way of emails. If you need to get in touch with me, please use my cell phone number. I check for messages twice a day.
Know that you are in my daily prayer. I ask that you also pray for all members of the General Administration and General Council.
Brother Edward Driscoll, CFX