Beloved in Christ,
I wish to thank you, once again, for being the Diocese that models the graciousness of being a Catholic Diocese. I remember years ago sitting with several of the “Biretta Belt” Bishops (sorry – Quincy is the last one now) discussing that the Anglican expression is the most gracious expression in the Catholic Faith. Not only is our worship gracious, with phrases that have shaped generations, but our emphasis on the Incarnation means a particular way of approaching Jesus’ real presence in the world – “in His throne of Glory in Heaven, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, and in the hearts of His faithful people” as we pray after every Mass.
With the death of Bp. Morales’ brother, you surrounded our Diocesan Bishop, and then you simply proceeded with what in most ways was a spectacular Synod. I say “most ways” simply because we shared in the loss of “Johnny” because we are a Diocese – not a collection of congregations. Congregationalism is always a temptation for parishes and missions, but when there are difficulties, God has revealed why parish life flows from Diocesan life – through her bishops, just as being a Catholic means that our Dioceses flow from something larger. The Faith teaches us that the Diocese is the basic unit of the church. The Synod proved the point. You rallied, you proceeded, you welcomed the Archbishop, you made the Mayor of Peoria feel quite welcome, and you allowed me to fulfill the role that Bp, Morales asked me to fill. (I didn’t know about the singing part with the Clerical Errors, though.) – Great fun.
And so, I wish to thank you for continuing to be the Diocese that we have always been: loving, warm, and Orthodox! Conservative people are often portrayed as being stodgy and negative. Thanks for 139 years that proves otherwise.
With love in Christ,
Bp. K.L. Ackerman, SSC