By EUGENE DZIELAK
All over the Diocese of Wilmington, the Knights of Columbus honor and thank our priests on Priesthood Sunday, Sept. 29.
The diocese is blessed to have a wonderful bishop and many priests who have dedicated their lives to being Jesus’ witnesses and instruments of salvation. This year is special because it marks a milestone for our bishop. On Jan. 18, the shepherd of the Diocese of Wilmington, Bishop W. Francis Malooly, formally submitted his resignation to the Holy Father, as required by canon law upon his 75th birthday. Although he shows no signs of slowing down and is as active and visible as ever, our beloved shepherd complied with this requirement.
Our diocese is so grateful that his 49-year sojourn since ordination brought him home to us as the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington. He has and will always have the respect, admiration and love of this grateful diocese.
In Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus reveals the two greatest commandments when he says, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
In John 13, Jesus says to love one another as I have loved you. Though no one can expect perfection from us humans as we attempt to obey these commandments, we are blessed to have examples of Christian discipleship who clearly live these two commandments as their personal goals. Our faithful bishop, clergy, religious and laity provide many of these holy examples of how Jesus wants us to live our lives.
In John 15:13 Jesus further reveals, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” While this is clearly a reference to the death that Jesus would endure for our salvation, it can be extended to our daily lives as well. Thankfully, most of us will not have to endure martyrdom, but we do give a piece of our lives, our finite time on earth, each time we do an act of kindness for a friend. If our lives are devoted to such works of love, we have essentially given our lives for our friends.
This is what Bishop Malooly and our priests do every day.
This is the ultimate expression of love as Jesus intended. Jesus gave his life for us, his friends, and asks us to devote our lives for others as we strive for perfection.
This Priesthood Sunday, take a few moments to let your bishop and parish priests know how special they are to you and your parish. A kind word after Mass or a quick note of thanks in his mailbox will go a long way toward letting him know you appreciate his expression of love for us.
May God continue to bless our bishop, priests and religious while bringing ever increasing numbers of seminarians to this beautiful vocation.
Please continue to pray for Pope Francis, Bishop Malooly, our priests, our seminarians in formation and for an abundance of future vocations to the priesthood as our diocese continues to grow.
National Vocation Awareness Week is November 3-9.
For more information about Priesthood Sunday, go to priestsunday.org
For more information about the Knights of Columbus, go to kofc.org/join
Eugene Dzielak is state deputy of the Knights of Columbus, Delaware.