Advent/Christmas 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

            As we look back to the beginning of the year of the Lord, 2020, no one of us could imagine the storm that was advancing imperceptibly. Pre-pandemic and post pandemic will be the great divide for generations to come. Yet, the rhythms of life, although impacted, do not cease. On the family front, Emil Calomino, Joseph Calomino, and Fiorella Calomino, the last of the greatest generation, died in the Lord and entered eternal life. Each was well into his or her nineties.

In their passing, the torch officially is passed to the baby boomers, the new generation of elders. Because

Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz

of the pandemic, my travels have been restricted, within the diocese and beyond, and not being engaged fully in the ministry is frustrating. Yet, apart from going to the chancery office regularly, I spend more time in my home since March than I ever did for the first six years as Bishop of Jackson. Lo and behold, I am enjoying all of the tasks that a home requires, plus reading, praying, conversations, and of course, zooming from within the walls of mi casa. My dear dog, Amigo, now nearly 14 years old, keeps asking when I am going to return to work full time. He has been a delight in many ways, and although his mobility is diminishing, there is nothing wrong with his mouth nor his appetite.

            I am grateful to all of my coworkers in the vineyard of the Lord in the Diocese of Jackson, ordained and lay, who daily look for creative and meaningful ways to regroup, and to serve in our parishes, ministries and schools during this pandemic. Likewise, behind the scenes, only God knows the heroic efforts our families exert each day to do what has to be done for the children and the elders. At the top of our list, we express our gratitude for the health care workers who serve heroically during this marathon of critical care. They need our prayers, our respect and our common sense with proven precautions. Let us pray for all who have died, and for their loved ones who could not comfort them at their bedsides. For the unemployed and underemployed, may all who can make a difference, endeavor to do so as bridges to hope and a fresh start.

            As Christmas approaches we yearn for what is familiar and comforting. Yet, we are duty-bound in the midst of a rampant pandemic to curtail and/or sacrifice our treasured holy day and holiday traditions for the good of all, loved ones as well as the stranger. The time will come when we will feast together again and cherish one another’s company. Although this is distressing in the moment, each year at this time we proclaim hope and new life because of Jesus, the light shining through a world of shadows and death. In his light we seek comfort for our weary minds and hearts, and the blessings of encouragement and perseverance.

“The Lord is good; his mercy is eternal; his fidelity is from age to age! (Ps 100)