• Fr. John Nickolai

From the Associate Pastor's Pen - June 7, 2020

The “octave of Pentecost” continues as I write this — St. Luke’s account of a great variety of tongues, united in praise of God, is fresh in our minds. This bulletin also goes to the printer on the feast of St. Charles Lwanga and his companions, martyrs whose blood consecrated the soil of Uganda.

People who study demographics sometimes ask now: what is Christianity’s new “center of gravity?” It is no longer Europe. They point most often to the developing world — lands that are rich in evangelical energy but materially poor. India comes to mind, as well as parts of Africa. Some such places have an abundance of priests and religious, many of whom generously offer to go “to the missions.”

The United States, meanwhile, has become part of the “missions.” True, there are stable diocesan structures here — very different from the time of St. Rose’s arrival, when Bishop DuBourg’s see reached to the Rockies. But there are difficulties, as you already know. My classmates in other dioceses administer three or four parishes themselves. Recently the dioceses of Juneau and Fairbanks were consolidated into one. I assume that’s the first time in a while the number of American dioceses has decreased.

This is not to be morose but rather, to be hopeful. Possibly we will be blessed, and soon, by zealous disciples from other parts of this truly universal Church. Anyone is a potential hearer, and doer, and proclaimer of the Gospel. The liturgical season of Easter is ended, but it is always fitting to pray for a new Pentecost.

Fr. John Nickolai

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