Volume 26 @ Number 20 @ February 21, 2016 @ $15 per Year
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Culp: The Fire of God's Love
Life In The Diocese
The Bi-Weekly Publication of The Catholic Diocese of Lexington
Turn to I Witness, Page 4 Turn to Rite of Election, Page 9
Father Jim Sichko
Fr. Sichko is the pastor of St. Mark Parish, Richmond. As I have been watching Pope Francis' historic trip to Mexico, I remember that just 72 hours ago, I had the privi- lege of being in his presence; living where he lived, eating at his table and listening to him speak to me and the other 800 or so Mission- aries of Mercy in the Sala Regia of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace. Never did I imagine that I would concelebrate Mass with the Holy Father on Ash Wednesday in St. Peter's Basilica. I was selected as a "Missionary of Mercy" by the Holy Father at the recommendation of my Bishop, John Stowe. About 1000 Priests
Missionary of Mercy encounters Holy Father, who echoes "Kentucky!"
worldwide were selected to take on this special ministry, with 100 of them coming from the United States. As a Missionary of Mercy during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we have been given a mandate by the Holy Fa- ther to evangelize and given the faculties to LEXINGTON. Over 200 catechu- mens and candidates were accept- ed and welcomed, during the Rite of Election and Call to Continu- ing Conversion, February 14, in the Cathedral of Christ the King. The catechumens and candi- dates came from 33 parishes of the diocese. Bishop John Stowe, O.F.M., Conv., presided at the rite, assist- ed by Deacons Bill Wakefield and Skip Olson. A catechumen is a person who has not been baptized and seeks ad- mission into the church, through
Over 200 welcomed during the Rite of Election & Call to Continuing Conversion
Catechumens-now officially called the Elect-write their names into the Book of the Elect. CR photo: Cindy Olson
the Sacraments of Initia- tion-baptism, Eucharist, and confirmation. A can- didate is a person who has been baptized in a sepa- rate Christian tradition or ecclesial community and seeks full communion with the church. In his homily, Bishop Stowe, termed the rite as election day." "The re- sults are in, and you are chosen," he said to the catechumens and candidates. He posed the question whether people choose God or God choos- es to pick individuals as his sons and daughters, answering that it is a "double choice." Yes to both. Not either/or but both/and. God chose me to choose God," the bishop said. "If those are your questions, the an- swer is 'yes'." To this "double election," Bishop Stowe said, "we will add a third-the church now says, 'We choose you.' We want you to be one with us."
Father Jim Sichko trades zucchettos with Pope Francis, a common practice with the Holy Father. Photo provided.
forgive certain sins normally reserved to the Holy See, such as profaning the Eucharistic species, use of physical force against the Ro- man Pontiff, absolution of an accomplice in the sin against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue, or the direct violation against the sacramental seal of a confessor. This is not the first time I have been to Vati- can City nor the first time that I have had the honor to be in the presence of the Roman Pontiff, however, this visit was much dif- ferent. As I arrived in Vatican City which was overflowing with pilgrims making their way through the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica, I was aware of the increased secu- rity measures. Arriving at the Domus Sanc- tae Marthae (House of St. Martha) inside the Vatican walls, there was an unspoken tension that one can feel with the Swiss Guards and the Gendarmerie (Vatican Po- lice) physically present inside and outside of the house. Though I knew this was the "new" resi- dence of Pope Francis, I was unsure exactly how freely Pope Francis moved about; therefore, I kept in my pocket items that I wanted to person- ally give the Holy Father, should I run into him. One was the picture of my 87-year old mother, with her name and phone number. (The Holy Father randomly calls people con- stantly. He has made it a practice every 15 days to phone prisoners back in Argentina to counsel and encourage them. He also has made it a practice this jubilee year on one Friday a month to go out unannounced andNext Page