Bishop Boyea & Diocesan Updates

 
Friday, June 18, 2021
Friday of the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time

Dear Friend,
 
Do you want to know the worst kept secret in the Diocese of Lansing? Okay, here goes: We have the finest priests of any diocese in the United States. You probably know that already, don’t you? Overwhelmingly, our priests are virtuous men of great piety and good cheer who have “borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day” (Mt. 20:12) over many years for the love of Jesus Christ and His Holy Church; for the love of you and your family. I am humbled to be their bishop and grateful to be counted as their brother. Deo gratias.
 
Earlier this week we gathered together at Saint Mary Magdalen parish in Brighton (pictured below) in order to review and revise the latest draft proposals of the Diocese of Lansing Realign Resources for Mission committee. The primary purpose of the meeting was to listen to the presbyterate. The following day we did the same with the lay parish staff. Next, the Realign Resources for Mission team will be coming back out to the wider lay faithful for your comments and suggestions. After all, both the clergy and lay faithful in each parish have a unique local knowledge of their people and their place that can only be garnered through an active process of consultation. Details of those meetings should be coming to you soon. 
 
In the meantime, I thought it may be useful to use this Friday Memo in order to share my address to the priests of the diocese as delivered at our gathering in Brighton this week. It's reproduced below. It hopefully gives you an insight as to how I presently view our Realign Resources for Mission process as, together, clergy and lay, we each attempt to draw ever closer to Jesus Christ and share in his divine mission to “go and make disciples of all nations,” (Mt. 28:19). Thank you. 
 
Assuring you of my prayers, I am sincerely yours in Christ,
 
+ Earl
Bishop of Lansing
 
 Address by Bishop Earl Boyea to the Priests of the Diocese of Lansing
Saint Mary Magdalen Parish, Brighton
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
 
Dear brothers,
 
When visiting our seminarians at St. John Vianney Seminary two months ago, I was asked to give a morning of reflection. I decided to use the talk I had prepared for you for our Lenten Day of Prayer, which was cancelled.  The talk involved the use of seven titles for us priests. One title was “fishers of men”, a theme that we reflected on during the virtual Chrism Mass last year. Not only did our Lord call us to this role, but our culture, our times crave this kind of outreach on our part.  
 
It is quite understandable that this is a different approach from that which formed us as seminarians and even as young priests. Because we all share this same background, I don’t pretend to have the answers as to how this should be done.  I do know that the Lord is calling us to pick up our fishing rods and get out there.
 
Fortunately, we are not alone. We have one another and we have many laity who are willing to help us, perhaps even to show us the way!  However, for us to respond and for us to engage our people, we need two virtues: patience and humility. We are engaged in a process of change, something I know we all really enjoy! Change may be the result of a vision which we seek to achieve and that is certainly the case for our diocese. But just because there is a vision does not mean that there is a known, settled, agreed upon, definite process to get there. We are all learning. So, we need patience both with ourselves and you especially need patience with me. Right up front, be it know that I will make mistakes in this moving toward our vision. Hopefully, they won’t be too serious or unrecoverable! So, please, patience.
 
We also need humility. Each and every one of us, because we are smart people, have views and opinions about what will or will not work.  We have to make sure that we express those views. Some of that is being asked today. So be forthright.  Express yourselves today. But do so humbly, asking God to give you clarity and charity and a willingness to hear others as well.
 
Many thanks to the Realign Resources for Mission committee members who have put in so much time and energy to help announce the Gospel of the Lord in our diocese. They have been acting in prayer, charity, and with a lot of information. Just to be clear, I have not always agreed with some of their conclusions, so this is really a work in progress.
 
Here it is worthwhile to repeat something that was said last October. There are some who will say we are not at a crisis point at this time. However, we need to be moving in the direction the Spirit moves us, even if this is ahead of a crisis time. However, all is not as it should be. We may be able to pay our bills and continue with a lively sacramental life in our parish. But we are not growing; we are not helping ever more souls to get to heaven.
 
The kerygma needs to be proclaimed more and lived more in order, especially, to have a lasting impact on our young people. And even more than this, we need to engage more deliberately, intentionally, and effectively our parents. They are the prime teachers of and witnesses to their children.
 
This is not the time to circle the wagons, to hunker down with the sheep.  We need to go fishing. So, brothers, keep your staff at hand but grab onto a rod and reel as well. Thank you. God bless you.
 
* Delivered Saint Mary Magdalen Parish, Brighton, June 15, 2021

Friday, February 26, 2021
 
“The Catholic Church is the only thing which saves a man 
from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age”
G.K. Chesterton, The Catholic Church and Conversion
 
Dear Friend,
At this time of year, it’s always very heartening to encounter those who are seeking to become Catholic at Easter. Over the past weekend, I did just that. The ceremony is called the Rite of Election. At three locations – Ann Arbor, Grand Blanc and East Lansing – I gathered with hundreds of impending converts. Each has their own unique and beautiful story charting their journey towards reception into the Catholic Church. As for all of us, however, this coming Easter Sunday is but a staging post, albeit a significant one, on our continued earthly pilgrimage towards, Deo volente, our true native land of Heaven. Let me explain further. 
 
“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan,” (Mark 1:12-15). We need to see that Jesus’ temptations came after his Baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist. Baptism and full acceptance into the Church does not end the lure of sin in our lives just as it did not end these acts of the devil in Jesus’ life. As God told Cain in the Book of Genesis: “If you act rightly, you will be accepted; but if not, sin lies in wait at the door; its urge is for you, yet you can rule over it” (4:7). Temptations will remain a part of our lives but we can rule over them.
 
So, how do we rule over the temptations which come our way? The ninth chapter of the Book of Genesis gives us the answer. God establishes a covenant with us. God’s deepest desire is to care for us, to save us. This is all about God’s care for us. Noah is the sign of this divine plan. St. Peter, in his letter addressed to Christian communities located in five provinces of Asia Minor, picks up on this. He notes that Jesus died for us “that he might lead you to God.” Then, Peter points to Noah being saved from the flood and adds: “This prefigured baptism, which saves you now. It is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience,” (I Peter 3:18-22). God enables us to rule over sin and temptation.
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Those who seek Baptism; those who seek full admission to the Church; and all of us who seek to renew our own Baptism this Easter, we know that we cannot do this on our own. Sin does lie in wait at our doors all the time. Yet, with the power of the resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can rule over it.
 
My sisters and brothers, in just over five weeks all of us – Catholics old and new – will renounce Satan and all his works and we will profess our faith, which for many of us is a renewal of our Baptism. Temptation and sin will ever be at our door. Temptation and sin use lies, usually very attractive lies, to lure us on. But this is not God’s desire for us. God has covenanted with us through the very death and resurrection of Jesus. This covenant empowers our fidelity and steadfastness in the face of evil such that we truly can be free of that temptation. Today, choose the covenant God is offering you and the grace he will give you to live as his son or daughter. God bless.
 
Assuring you of my prayers, I am sincerely yours in Christ,
+ Earl
Bishop of Lansing
 
Friday, February 12, 2021
"When I think of the happiness that is in store for me, 
every sorrow, every pain becomes dear to me," 
Saint Francis of Assisi
 
Dear Friend,
Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. The season of Lent is almost upon us. 40 days of prayer, mortification and almsgiving as we prepare to accompany Jesus Christ throughout his passion and death on Good Friday and onto his glorious resurrection from the tomb upon Easter Sunday. 
 
As ever with the Christian life, we have no greater model for accompanying Our Blessed Lord than his Blessed Mother. Mary knew Jesus best, loved him most and, thus, shared most deeply in his sufferings. This beautiful yet bittersweet reality was foretold to Mary from the moment that she presented her first-born son in the temple in Jerusalem accompanied, of course, by St. Joseph.
 
There they meet an elderly man, Simeon, whom we are told is righteous and pious. Like any grandfather-figure he asks to hold this baby. Three times our text talks about the Holy Spirit guiding him (Luke 2:21-35).  It is in that Spirit that Simeon praises God for sending this salvation of Israel.
 
At the end of these very positive words, Simeon turns to Mary: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35). This is not something any of us would want to hear about our kid or about ourselves.  
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Yet, if we reflect upon this child, who is the new Adam, given us by the Father to restore all things back to the Father, it is clear that Mary has been invited to partner with her son in his great mission.  It is as though God’s initial plan in Genesis is being reworked. There God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him” (Genesis 2: 18).  Mary is indeed that suitable helper.
Thus, it is appropriate that her heart will also be pierced. As we will see in the Gospel of John, “one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out” (John 19:34).  
 
Sisters and brothers, many of you have experienced or watched your wives experience what Jesus described at the Last Supper: “When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world” (John 16:21). Mary’s incredible joy at being part of God’s plan will always be tempered by her participation in Jesus’ following the Father’s will. God’s will for us should also bring us great joy, even when we are called to endure the trials of this life for the sake of that good which God wishes to achieve. May we continually meditate upon that divine reality during our prayer and our privations this Lenten season. 
 
Assuring you of my prayers, I am sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Earl
Bishop of Lansing
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February 9th, 2021

EARL BOYEA
Divina Miseratione et Apostolicæ Sedis Gratia
EPISCOPUS LANSINGENSIS DECREE EXTENDING THE DISPENSATION FROM THE OBLIGATION
TO ATTEND SUNDAY MASS AND OTHER OBLIGATORY HOLY DAYS
UNTIL SUNDAY MAY 16, 2021 INCLUSIVE IS THIS REGION continues to be afflicted with the COVID-19 virus and its complications,
again taking into account the gravity of the law from which dispensation is given (can.
90 §§1, 2) and considering anew the spiritual good of the people of God entrusted to my
care (can. 87 §1), I decree that the faithful of the Diocese of Lansing are dispensed from
the obligation to attend Holy Mass on Sundays and other Holy Days of Obligation until
Sunday, May 16, 2021, inclusive. I likewise express my hope that the following Sunday,
May 23, 2021, on which the Church celebrates the great Solemnity of Pentecost, will see
the resumption of the Sunday and Holy Day obligation, with due precautions being taken
and provisions being made for the most vulnerable. Due to the extended duration of the
various dispensations that have preceded the current decree, I also intend to issue a
singular precept urging the proper understanding and observance of the universal law
regarding this obligation.
As previously provided, the faithful are reminded that while the Sunday obligation to
attend Mass is dispensed, all are nevertheless obligated to keep the Lord’s day holy
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2168-2195). It is especially recommended to engage in
prayer, either personally or as a family (cf, can. 1248 §2), for example, by devoutly
following a broadcast of the Sunday Mass by television, internet, or radio. Parishes are 
encouraged to continue to use the various means of social communications to maximize
accessibility to the faithful.
Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.
With immediate effect.
Given at the Curia in Lansing on this, the third day of February, the memorial of Saint
Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, in the year of our Lord 2021.
Most Reverend Earl Boyea
Mr. Michael Andrews Bishop of Lansing
Chancellor

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Friday, February 5, 2021
Feast of Saint Agatha, Virgin & Martyr
“Unless you are willing to do the ridiculous, God will not do the miraculous. When you have God, you don’t have to know everything about it; you just do it,”
Mother Angelica, Foundress of EWTN
 
Dear Friend,
The life of St. John stands apart from those of the other Apostles in several notable ways. He is the youngest of the Twelve; the only one who stays faithful to the Christ on Good Friday; the only one not to be subsequently killed; he also had the unique distinction of being “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7; and 21:20).
 
In similar fashion, St. John’s Gospel also stands apart from the three other gospels which chart the life of Jesus Christ. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke speak about the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven as the subject of Jesus’ preaching. In the Gospel of St. John, however, Jesus presents himself as the King and the Kingdom. This is John’s aim. As he states: “these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). This is why, uniquely, St. John refers to the miracles of Christ as "signs", each being intended to point to Jesus himself as eternal life and thus seeking faith in those around him. 
 
In total, St. John's Gospel contains seven such "signs". Undoubtedly, his retelling of these miraculous moments is infused with the unique eye-witness testimony, and prayerful maternal perspective, of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who lived out her final years in the care of John having been entrusted to him by her dying son at Calvary (John 19:27). In this Friday Memo, I would like us to focus upon the first of these “signs”: The wedding feast at Cana, a village which sits about four miles to the north of Nazareth (John 2:1-11). 
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“Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him” (John 2:11). Jesus had been reluctant to work any miracle at this point, telling his mother that his hour had not yet come. However, he had already gathered his disciples, who were present for this wedding, and perhaps Mary was wondering, “What is he waiting for?”  
 
Jesus did come through and answered the need. In fact, he exceeded it.  He produced an abundance of a vintage wine for the wedding guests. We, hearing this story, are usually struck by the same fact which the headwaiter said to the bridegroom: “you have kept the good wine until now” (John 2:10). Yet, our focus must be drawn away from the wine and onto the one who is the true bridegroom, Jesus.
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This is why that concluding line to our story is so important. This sign was really all about his disciples and their coming to believe in him. At least, that is John’s purpose in this gospel account. Jesus’ care for the newly married couple, his response to his mother, his miraculous abundance of wine, while all good things, are not the real aim of this “sign.” We are told at the beginning of this story that it happened on the third day (John 2:1), a clear allusion to the future resurrection. Jesus not only provides for far more than we can imagine; Jesus himself is far more than we can imagine.
 
Sisters and brother, we are the disciples of Jesus. We think we know what we can expect of God and of his servant, Jesus. Yet, we are clueless. Jesus will always be far more than we expect. We need to allow ourselves to be surprised by our God, to be open to the unimaginable. And that is what is being offered to us if only we too “begin to believe in him.”
 
Assuring you of my prayers, I am sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Earl
Bishop of Lansing
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Watch: Meet Diocese of Lansing seminarian, James Bonar. 22-year-old James grew up in the parish of Christ the King in Ann Arbor. He first considered the call to the sacred priesthood, however, during his time as a student at Michigan Tech in Houghton and, especially, through his involvement with the university parish, St Albert the Great. 
 
“One powerful moment in my discernment was the Fellowship of Catholic University Students’ SEEK Conference in 2017. During the big adoration night, I strongly felt Jesus asking me if I was willing to follow Him and to trust in His plan for my life rather than my own,” recalls James. 
 
“He broke through that night and since then I have felt invited to pursue seminary to discern more clearly what exactly is Christ’s call for my life?” 
 
Following graduation from Michigan Tech, James was accepted as a student for the sacred priesthood by the Diocese of Lansing and is now a student at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit on his path to the sacred priesthood, Deo volente.
 
Please keep James in your prayers in the months and years to come. Saint Charles Borromeo, patron of seminarians, pray for him. 
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Watch: Beginning in Advent 2020, Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing has been leading people on a day-by-day journey through the Holy Bible. To subscribe go to Bishop's Year of the Bible click here. It's not too late! 
 
This week the Year of the Bible reached Chapter 6 of the Gospel of St. John. So what is God saying to us in this passage? 
 
To help us prayerfully ponder that question, here is a short reflection by popular Catholic writer and speaker, Steve Ray of catholicconvert.com. who is also a parishioner at Christ the King Parish in Ann Arbor: 
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Read: Does this image look familiar? Sibling rivalry is as old as Cain and Abel. Presumably, that’s about how long parents have been trying to find the best way to deal with it too! 
 
Well, look no further for advice than the the latest edition of FAITH Magazine, the official publication of the Diocese of Lansing, where the popular Catholic speaker and writer, Sheri Wohlfert, addresses this very issue.
 
"There can be some positive outcomes from sibling rivalries and conflicts; in fact, they are some of the earliest experiences we have in learning to compromise, negotiate and problem-solve," writes Sheri. 
 
"But sometimes the rivalries can spin to a level of concern, so here are some strategies to help keep a balance." Want to know what they are? Click here to find out. 
 
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Watch: Beginning in Advent 2020, Bishop Boyea has been leading people on a day-by-day journey through the Holy Bible. To join him, go to Bishop's Year of the Bible by clicking here. It's not too late! 
 
The Bishop is currently leading subscribers through Saint Paul's Letter to the Church in Philippi, a major Greek city northwest of the nearby island, Thasos. Why has he chosen this book as the next in his Year of the Bible reading list? Here is his explanation:
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Watch: In August 2019, Bishop Earl Boyea convened a 15-strong committee and charged them with discerning how to realign the human and other resources within the Diocese of Lansing to help parishes better engage in the mission of Jesus to build up the Kingdom of God across the 10-county diocese. 
 
Known as the Realign Resources for Mission committee, they will report back to Bishop Boyea with recommendations later in 2021. Hosted by committee member, Pete Burak, this 41-minute presentation, below, will allow you to: 
 
* Discover why Bishop Boyea decided to initiate the the Realign Resources for Mission (RRM) process.   
 
* Go through the four principles informing Bishop Boyea’s Realign Resources for Mission Vision.   
 
* Have the opportunity to give written feedback to them and the RRM process in general via this online survey here.
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The presentation has been shared in 67 parish meetings across the Diocese of Lansing in recent months, both in-person and virtually, and has seen approximately 2,500 parishioners participate and has elicited over 1,800 written submissions from so far. 
 
This video was created for use by those few parishes who did not host parish meetings. It can also be used, however, by any parishioner who was unable to attend their particular parish meeting. Please submit any feedback by January 15, 2020. All feedback will be read by the Realign Resources for Mission Committee. 
 
Why is all that important? Because, informed by your feedback, the next step for the Realign Resources for Mission process is to begin drawing up a range of concrete proposals which will come back to each area of the diocese for further comment later this year before going to Bishop Boyea. Hence, your input is both valued and appreciated. Thank you. God bless you. 

* Presentation recorded on November 25, 2020. 
 
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