Pentecost; The Continuing Gift of the Holy Spirit

2015 Easter CandlePentecost is not just an historical event. The Gift of the Holy Spirit is the ongoing life of the Church!

With Evening Prayer today, the Easter Candle will be lit for the last time, except for the celebrations of the Mass of Resurrection (funerals).  This Easter season has perhaps been one of the most grace-filled Easters of my life, and I believe the reason is that God has kept me very busy with his work, and less and less focused on my own interests.  The interpretation of that statement is found in St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians:

For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; Now the works of the flesh are obvious; immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.  In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5: 16, 19 – 20, 22)

One does not need to be a Scripture scholar to connect a few dots here.  First of all, it seems rather obvious that the world is experiencing a great deal of fury, selfishness, dissension, immorality and other forms of impurity.  No one wants to live in such a world.  But, we do have an option, and it is the option of believers to live in the Spirit.

A world closed to God and to Jesus Christ and his gift of the Holy Spirit will experience divisions, chaos and violence; it is the only outcome.  We do not need to condemn the world, for Jesus did not come to condemn, but rather to save.  (see John 3:17)  The believer simply needs to beg God for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  We need a greater ability to discern what spirits are at work in our life and world, and as St. Ignatius said; where the counter spirit is at work, reject it.  Where the Holy Spirit is at work, embrace it.

I have prayed often over the years for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and never really felt like I had experienced it.  Partially, this was because I was a novice about the ways of the Spirit.  But perhaps more importantly, I was still living a life too focused on self – a life of the ‘flesh’ if you will.  In the same Letter to the Galatians, St. Paul says that those who live according to the flesh will not enter into the kingdom of God.  (see 5:21)

We are very good at identifying the various appetites of the body, and also very good at satisfying those appetites.  But, we need to be even wiser about the desires of the soul, and how to satisfy the longings of the Holy Spirit who abides within us.  If we are serious about wanting to enter the fullness of God’s Kingdom, and I do not know anyone who does not desire heaven, then we must be adept at feeding the soul, and advancing God’s Kingdom here on earth.  That is the work of the Holy Spirit! That is the work of the church.  That is the work of believers.

St. Paul lists many fruits of the Spirit, but perhaps the most important one for novices is that of self-control.  If we learn to properly discipline our bodies – with all due respect for the goodness of the body – then we will be well on our way to learning how to feed the soul, and be even more docile and obedient to the inspirations and promptings of the Holy Spirit.

This does not mean that we will all be speaking in tongues, but it does mean that we will be better able to live out the gifts God has given us for building up the Body of Christ, the Church.  It does mean that we will be advancing God’s Kingdom and bringing more love, joy and peace into the lives of others.  If we are persecuted for this, so what?  If we are martyred for this, so what?  We will enter into the fullness of God’s Kingdom, which is our deepest desire and our ultimate goal in this life.

Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven; (Matthew 5:11-12)


Rev. John Wright; Rest in Peace

Fr John Wright-

Fr John WrightJohn Anthony Wright was born in Corpus Christi Texas on November 25, 1931, the adoptive son of Fred and Pauline Gilmore. When he was 10 years old he began spending weekends and summers at a large family Ranch owned by the Gallagher’s. This family became his 2nd family. His time spent with the Gallagher’s on their ranch convinced him that rural life was what he wanted and needed. It was this attraction to rural life that eventually brought him to Wyoming.

In 1951 he entered the Benedictine Monastery of Subiaco Abbey in Subiaco Arkansas and was ordained a priest on May 26, 1956. He then went to St Louis University and received his degrees in Mathematics and Secondary School Administration.

On December 17, 1960, he was appointed principal of Corpus Christi Academy, the very school he attended as a child. He was a math and physics teacher, as well as a bus driver at the Academy. In 1968, he left the Benedictines and became a diocesan priest for the Diocese of Cheyenne. He was stationed at the Cathedral in Cheyenne and St Laurence O’Toole in Laramie. He was the pastor of St Anthony’s, Upton; Our Lady of Peace in Pinedale; Our Lady of the Mountains in Jackson; St Joseph’s in Cheyenne and St Barbara’s in Powell. After a stroke in 1998, he retired from active ministry and resided in Powell Wyoming.

He was an active outdoors man, a pilot, a cowboy who loved hunting, fishing, team roping, tennis, golf, rowing a single skull, and working with horses. He was a musician, who loved to play the fiddle, the violin and the guitar. He belonged to a group that would sing for the Heartland residents, where he resided in retirement.

Fr. Wright found in these last years the ability to offer his life as a priest by praying continually for others. Secondly, the last Mass he celebrated as a priest was this past Sunday, the Feast of the Ascension. On Monday morning around 1 am, he went to the hospital and died early this Saturday morning, May 23, 2015.  I had a most memorable visit with Fr. Wright just this Fall.  He was full of stories!

May he rest in Peace!  And, may his intercession be a source of more young men entering the seminary for the Diocese of Cheyenne!

There will be a prayer service at 7:00pm Tuesday evening and a Mass of the Resurrection Wednesday, 10:30am at St. Barbara in Powell.

The Dignity of Marriage; The Love of a Man and Woman

The hits just keep on coming this weekend.  Today I had the distinct pleasure of presiding at the wedding ceremony of a beautiful young couple, who tonight are now Mr. & Mrs. Tyler Ward.  Maria is the daughter of a permanent deacon who is the Director of Pastoral Ministries for the Diocese of Cheyenne.  Tyler’s parents are active in the Cheyenne.  Tyler and Maria are both Catholic, and the faith-filled nature of their ceremony today gives me great hope.

Congratulations to Maria and Tyler Ward!  Below is the homily for the occasion.

Maria & Tyler Ward with Bishop Etienne

Maria & Tyler Ward with Bishop Etienne

Maria and Tyler, the readings you have selected for today’s Mass are unique, in that they are not the usual choices. I’m sure this uniqueness of the readings reflects your own uniqueness among young adults today. Clearly, God has blessed you both with families of faith, friends of faith, and a deep faith of your own. I hope you never take such gifts for granted, and that you not only give thanks to God, but nourish the gift of faith that is yours.

Besides these gifts, the gift most in view for all to see today, the gift which brings us together for this celebration, is God’s giving each of you to one another, in love. If you can begin and end each day from this day forward by looking at each other, recognizing each is God’s gift to the other, you will weather every storm that life will send your way, and grow deeper in love each step of the journey. As God has given each of you as gift to the other, so now you must live your life as a gift. This is the heart of every Christian vocation, to give one’s self fully, freely, and completely to another. This is what Jesus is talking about in the Gospel today, to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. (Matthew 5: 13, 14)

The second reading today speaks of how we live our life as a gift. St. Paul instructs us that we are to live as Christ, which is “to live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God.” (Ephesians 5:2) Your love as husband and wife is a reflection of the highest dignity of humanity, in that it is a true reflection of the image and likeness of God.

The first reading today from the book of Tobit recalls the teaching of the book of Genesis which says: “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Being created in the image and likeness of God has little to do with our physical makeup. Bearing the likeness of God means we are created for love, we are created for communion; we are created for giving and receiving love in a harmonious and fruitful fashion. Being created in God’s image and likeness means we participate in the Divine love and truth.

The Divine relationship of Love is at the core of our being, longing to be expressed in authentic human love. This authentic human love as lived and expressed by a husband and wife shines a light of life and hope into the world. This spousal love is salt to the human family because it is the shelter from the storms of life, healing for the wounds of life, and the font of new life itself.

Daily fidelity to authentic love is challenging. That is why there are so many marriages that fail and why there are so many broken homes today. Somehow our society has bought into a notion of fairytale love; a love that is only and always bliss. However, there is nothing in the history of salvation that gives such a notion of love. Christian marriage must always be rooted in God, rooted in the redeeming love of Jesus Christ, sustained by the inspiration and fidelity of the Holy Spirit.

Because we live in a fallen world, there will always be a certain amount of imperfection to our love, a certain part of the human heart that will only be reached by the perfect love of God. But we have the courage to enter into a promise of life-long love because we know we need the mercy and love of God in our life. A short reading of the Psalms or even of the reading today from Tobit, tells us that life has its ups and downs, but God is with us in every moment. Just because there are trials, even occasional failures in love, is no reason to call it ‘quits.’ Rather, these are precisely the moments to realize that we cannot make it on our own steam, and we need to turn to God to provide what is lacking.

This is precisely how Tobiah and Sarah begin their married life, by turning to God in prayer, asking God to keep them safe from the forces of evil. They ask for God’s mercy and blessing. They acknowledge God as Creator of all, and ask that he bring forth children from their love. (Tobit 8:4-8) Clearly, the forces of evil facing Tobiah and Sarah were great, because while they slept through their wedding night, Sarah’s father was digging a grave for Tobiah, fully expecting he would not live to see the light of a new day! (Tobit 8:9) Perhaps if we were as realistic about the forces of evil facing us today, we would turn to God more regularly than we do.

Finally, Maria and Tyler, as your bishop, I thank you for your faith and for choosing to seal your love in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The Church needs you today. We need your willingness to live in love and truth in the midst of our society, as well as in our Church. Your love and faith lived in truth for all to see is indeed keeping Christ’s instruction to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

With every vocation comes a commission which shares in the great mission of the Church, to proclaim the Good News. First and foremost, this work of yours will take place within your home, and please God will involve raising children in the faith. However, a very big part of the work of new evangelization today belongs precisely to young people such as your selves living as a leaven in the world. By your faith and love, you will attract others to yourself. Some may already know Christ, but declare themselves to be among those who need no organized religion. Others may not yet know Christ, but will be drawn to him through you. Both groups, you are to lead by the light of truth and love into the heart of Christ, which is the Church.

No matter where God’s will leads you, no matter the difficulties, know that God is always with you, and very pleased with you and your love. May your love always be a beacon of Christ’s love for the Church, and may that love always be willing to embrace others in his holy name. God bless and keep you in love all the days of your life!

Two New Priests For Cheyenne

ProstrationYesterday, this local Church had a truly joyful celebration in bestowing the grace of Holy Orders upon two new priests; Rev. Augustine Carrillo and Rev. Hiep Nguyen.  These ordination ceremonies are powerful, not only for the families and friends of those being ordained, but for the People of God whom they will serve, and especially for the priests of the local presbyterate of whom they become the newest members.

There was a great turnout of family, friends, classmates, parishioners, and of course, brother priests.

AnointingThere is such a strong fraternity that exists among priests.  It surely mirrors the bonds of friendship which Jesus himself forged with that first group of apostles.  Priests are such a gift from God.  It reminds me of the words of Jesus himself when he said about his apostles: “Father, they are your gift to me.”  (John 17: 24)  The same can be said by every bishop of everyone of his priests: “Father, they are your gift to me.”  And surely, the People of God feel the very same, and such gratitude was on full display in the Cathedral at yesterday’s ordination Mass!

It seems providential that this year’s ordinations were practically on the Vigil of Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit is alive in the Church, and as in every age, still giving the gifts necessary to meet the challenges and needs of the Church and society today.  The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to all, not just the clergy.  And all hands are needed on deck to cooperate fully with the Holy Spirit for the renewal of the Church.  These newly ordained were given strong instruction in yesterday’s Gospel to continue to call forth the gifts of all of God’s people for ministry and service for the building up of the Body of Christ, the Church.

It is with a grateful heart that I continue to pray our vocations prayer today, for every member of the Church:

Lord Jesus, as you gave us your life you said: “Do this in memory of me.”  May all your disciples fulfill your command of love.  Raise up in our diocese humble men to the priesthood, faithful people to the consecrated life, and holy men and women to married life.  May all your disciples hear your call to holiness and have the courage to respond with generous hearts.  Amen!

Congratulations, Rev. Augustine Carrillo and Rev. Hiep Nguyen!  May God bless your, your ministry, and all those whom you will serve in the years ahead!

Rev. Augustine Carrillo, Bishop Etienne, and Rev. Hiep Nguyen

Rev. Augustine Carrillo, Bishop Etienne, and Rev. Hiep Nguyen

Priesthood Ordination Homily; 2015

Prieshood Ordination Homily: May 22, 2015

Most Reverend Paul D. Etienne

St. Mary’s Cathedral, Cheyenne, Wyoming

Deacon Hiep Nguyen & Deacon Augustine Carrillo

My dear friends, welcome to the St. Mary’s Cathedral. Welcome to the Diocese of Cheyenne. I wish to extend a special word of welcome and of thanks to Augustine’s and Hiep’s families who are present with us. Thank you for sharing your sons with us, and helping them to answer the call of Jesus to serve the people of the Diocese of Cheyenne as a priest of God.

I also wish to acknowledge a few other special guests who have joined us. Fr. Bede Cisco and Fr. Julian Peter are Benedictine priests from the Archabbey and School of Theology of St. Meinrad. Sr. Maria Amigo, Sisters For Christian Community is here to represent Conception Seminary in Missouri. We also extend a warm welcome to the seminary companions of Hiep and Augustine who have travelled to be with us, and extend congratulations to those of you who will also soon be ordained to the priesthood.

Finally, to you, Hiep and Augustine, I will address the majority of my remarks. Thank you both for your attentiveness to the Word of God, to the person of Jesus who has called you to this moment. Thank you for your willingness to say “Yes” to him, which is also a “Yes” to the People of God of the Diocese of Cheyenne who will shortly, formally call you to this Office known as Holy Orders.

I wish to draw to your attention the feast we celebrate in the Universal Church today, that of St. Rita of Cascia. During my years as a seminary student in Rome, I would make pilgrimage to her shrine twice a year, during the season of final exams. She is after all the patroness of desperate causes. I’m sure that is no reflection upon your own qualifications to be chosen as priests, but I assure you, in the future, you will experience those ‘desperate moments’ in your own life and ministry. I encourage you to always seek her intercession, and she will hold you close to Christ, and help you find your way in faith, hope, even joy.

With St. Rita as your model, live lives of contemplation and prayer. Her contemplation of Christ in prayer and her service to him in the lives of the poor led to a physical manifestation in her own flesh. She received a wound from a thorn in the crown of Christ as a sign of her own participation in his loving self-sacrifice. Today you promise to be a man of prayer. Make nurturing your life in Christ the first priority of every day, through prayerful fidelity to the Liturgy of Hours and most especially through your daily celebration of the Eucharist. Priests and bishops are empty vessels, dark lamps, if we try to carry out our ministry as Priests of Jesus Christ without doing our best to remain in him. Likewise, we are frauds before those we seek to be spiritual guides if we are not under some form of spiritual guidance ourselves.

Such spiritual guidance is important in the life of every person, and especially in the life of a priest. Fidelity to your promises of obedience, prayer and celibacy will be regularly challenged by the evil one. No one can be their own spiritual director. Such self-guidance leaves one susceptible to the deceptions of the demon. Find someone to be a spiritual companion who is equipped to help you remain faithful to Christ and true to yourself.

Beyond these traditional promises of priesthood, I wish to spend a little time reflecting now on the immediate challenges of today. Obviously, fidelity to our priestly promises is critical, but there are also gifts given by the Lord to everyone he calls and sends into the world in his name. You have been chosen. You are sent. Your selection and commissioning is meant to be fruitful, for some benefit, specifically in the context of today’s needs, both within the Church and in the broader society.

That is why it is so important for priests today to get out of the sacristy and out from behind the desk and get into the lives of your people. First and foremost, particularly while you are young and new to this ministry, develop the habit of a good shepherd who is always mindful of the poor and marginalized. They need the gaze of compassion and the healing touch of human concern, not just a hand out and a quick dismissal. Know their names, not just their needs.

Get to know those who claim they need no formal religion. Understand them, and help the Church to understand how we can better minister to them. Get out of you comfort zone. Follow the exhortation of Pope Francis to go out to the peripheries. I am tasking each of you with the specific work of young adult ministry. Make time for our young church, and do not be content to know only those who presently practice their faith within the Church. Get to know them in their surroundings. Get to know their concerns, the crosses they carry, the questions of their hearts, and be a shepherd to them.

This is a big part of how today’s priests who are anointed by the Spirit are to fulfill their ministry. As the Prophet Isaiah proclaims in the first reading today, it is the Lord and the power of the Spirit that sends you “to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted and to proclaim liberty to the captives.” Such outreach will keep you faithful to your call to make a gift of your life. Such extension of yourself to not only those of the parish, but beyond the walls of the church will keep you from falling into the snare of isolation. Be men of communion by building community wherever you go.

Allow a well ordered ministry be what exhausts you rather than being wearied by chasing the things of this world. Do not be satisfied with ‘just being busy.’ We do not need busy priests. The Church needs priests who are engaged with their people. Do not be content to just assume the roles of what is now in place. Help your pastors, your people, me your bishop, to question what we are presently doing, in order to discover what the Holy Spirit is asking of us. I firmly believe the demon is successfully keeping us busy today about things that in the end do not truly advance the Kingdom of God. This is why we need to wisely discern the spirits that are at work in our life and in the Church.

If we are going to be successful today as Church, we must do a much better job at inviting and empowering the laity to take up their rightful roles of service in the Church. Too much in parish life today still revolves around the priest. Obviously, the Pastor has a legitimate and important role to play, not just sacramentally, but as the shepherd who leads and guides the People of God. But as the second reading today reminds and properly instructs us, every member has a gift which must be equally employed: “we are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us; let us exercise them:” (Romans 4: 5-6)

We have plenty of room to grow in recognizing the gifts of every member of the church, and empowering each member to utilize those gifts for the building up of the Body of Christ. Once again, discernment is needed. The shepherd must know the members of his parish in order to recognize their unique gifts and to call them into service. The priest is not the only one who loves Jesus. He is not the only one sent by the Lord for some purpose which builds up the Body of Christ, the Church.

In the Gospel today, we hear of that wonderful moment when the Risen Christ appears to Peter and the disciples, who are fishing just off the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus invites the disciples ashore for a breakfast of grilled fish. His desire is once again to reassure them that he is truly Risen, in the flesh, and that death has no power over him. Along with this reassurance comes deeper understanding of the Life that He is sharing with them, from which now flows their commission to go into the world to proclaim the Good News.

During this encounter, Jesus asks Peter three times: “Peter, do you love me?” Three times Peter gives his response: “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” With each Question of love and with each response of love, Jesus is extending the mercy that heals Peter of his denials of Christ. With each question and answer of love comes a concrete directive of Christ to Peter to put his words into action: “Feed my lambs, tend my sheep, feed my sheep.”

The lesson for all of us is that when we have offended Christ by our sins, he is always ready to renew his love for us. Hiep and Augustine, from today forward, you will be ministers of this great mercy of God. In order to be authentic as confessors in the person of Christ, you must follow the example of Peter and be regular penitents as well.

Another important lesson from this dialogue of love between Christ and Peter is that our fruitfulness as priests flows from our obedience to Christ. Our fruitfulness as priests demands that we put our love into concrete practice. Love the People of God well, and this will be your best response to Christ: “Lord, you know that I love you.”

Finally, this weekend, the Church will celebrate Pentecost, that moment when Christ pours out the gift of the Holy Spirit upon the Church. Augustine and Hiep, desire and beg for the Holy Spirit in your ministry as priests. Pray that our Mother Mary, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit will intercede for you and your priestly ministry. God is clearly doing something ‘new’ in the Church today, and we need only open our hearts, our lives and our ministry to the Holy Spirit for the renewal of the Church. You have been given your own gifts, and they are gifts for the new millennium, gifts for the new evangelization.

Consecrate yourself to our Lady, and she who is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, the Mother of the Church will keep you close to Christ. May your love for Christ always be fruitfully expressed in your love for the Church, which is God’s holy, faithful people.

Christ chose you. Today Christ claims you. Never let him go!


God bless you.

UNITY: Jesus’ desire for the Church and for all

Jesus’ address to his apostles the night before he was handed over is a beautiful discourse on the Trinity.  He speaks in his own mysterious way of the love that exists between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  He does so in relationship to how this internal mystery of God is shared with all of us through him and through his gift of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus through the Incarnation comes into the world to accomplish the deep desire of God to draw every person into the ‘unity’ that exists between the three persons of God; to bestow upon everyone of us the gift of Divine Life itself!

Jesus’ relationship with each of the apostles is the beginning of the work to draw individuals into the Divine Life through relationship with him.  This ‘drawing into’ the life of the Divine Relationship continues after his resurrection and ascension through his gift of the promised Holy Spirit.  Listen to these words of Jesus:

I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in my through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.  And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.  Father, they are your gift to me.  I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.  Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me.  I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.  (John 17: 20-26)

Benediction During Holy Hour last night.

Benediction During Holy Hour last night.

As we experience our own unity with Christ, we are then to build this unity through our relationships with one another, and this unity is built through truth and love.  As Jesus built a strong communion between himself and his apostles, so every bishop is to build up a strong communion within his own presbyterate.  This thought is very much on my heart and mind today as I prepare to ordain two new men to the priesthood.

Communion is built in many ways, but most especially through the communion of the ‘table,’ the banquet of sacrifice which is the Eucharist.  This table of communion is then to be identified with at every Christian table, in every Christian home, in every Christian gathering around any kind of food.  The Lord who gives himself as food at every Eucharistic banquet takes up his dwelling in the life of believers.  Each believer nourished in Christ is then to nurture this communion of love in every one of his or her relationships.

Holy Hour Holy Orders 007We experienced this communion that builds unity in the gathering held yesterday evening.  It was a time of prayer, fellowship, and food.  As the priests, deacons and seminarians gathered, we welcomed one another, and especially those who are being ordained today, along with their family and friends.  Every human life needs quality relationships.  Every presbyterate needs strong bonds of fraternity, communion, and support.  We cannot take these relationships for granted.  We must always be intentional in forging the bonds that advance God’s Kingdom.  In such bonds, as St. John tells us in his Second Letter:

“Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son in truth and love.” (2 John 3)

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Priesthood Ordinations Tomorrow; Prayer Service Tonight

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Deacon Hiep Nguyen & Parents; Joseph Sy & Anna Thao Nguyen

Dear Friends, it is with great joy and anticipation that the Diocese of Cheyenne prepares to ordain two new priests. Yesterday I had the delightful pleasure of meeting the parents of one of our deacons.  Deacon Hiep Nguyen and his parents, Joseph and Anna (shown above) came to my residence for a warm visit.

Hiep was one of three Vietnamese seminarians studying for the Diocese of Cheyenne when I arrived here five and a half years ago.  This was the first time his parents have come for a visit, and justifiably for the culminating event of Hiep’s years of formation and study.  We kept Hiep busy translating while we had a wonderful visit.

Deacon Augustine Carrillo

Deacon Augustine Carrillo

On Tuesday, I met with our other deacon to be ordained tomorrow, Deacon Augustine Carrillo.  Both deacons completed their theological studies at St. Meinrad Seminary, a Benedictine run school of theology in southern Indiana, near where I grew up, Tell City, Indiana.

Augustine grew up in California, was in the seminary some years ago, and a classmate of one of our present priests.  Augustine took some time off from the seminary, and when the classmate priest was looking for a new Director of Religious Education, he called Augustine and invited him to come to Wyoming, which he did.  After spending a few years serving in this capacity at Holy Name parish in Sheridan, Augustine discovered a ‘new home’ and a renewed call to pursue the priesthood.

This afternoon, priests, deacons and seminarians will gather at my residence for a cookout.  The main event this evening is the Holy Hour at the Cathedral from 7:00 to 8:00pm.  The public is invited.  So, if you are in the neighborhood, please come spend an hour in prayer with us, asking God to fill Augustine and Hiep with the graces to be good shepherd’s for the People of God.  We will also be praying for others whom God is calling to serve the Diocese of Cheyenne as priests.

Tomorrow, you are kindly invited to join us again at the Cathedral for the Ordination Mass at 2:00.  No matter where you are, please join us in grateful prayer as we ordain and welcome Hiep and Augustine to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ!



Wyoming Catholic College Celebrates 5th Graduation Ceremony

I had the privilege this weekend to be present for the Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies at Wyoming Catholic College in Lander.  Founded in the Fall of 2007 with 34 freshmen, this year 17 men and women completed their studies and graduated as the 5th class from the College.  The College is a four year liberal arts college, with a great books program, including an outdoor leadership and equestrian program.  The overall mission of the College is to form strong leaders in the Catholic Tradition.  It is a unique program, and growing stronger every year.  This next year’s freshman class is expected to number around 50 students.  I encourage you to check out their website by clicking on the name of the school above.

IMG_7055I had the distinct pleasure this year of giving the Homily for the Friday evening Baccalaureate Mass as well as the Saturday morning Commencement address.  Then, the President, Dr. Kevin Roberts and the College surprised me with this year’s Sedes Sapientiae (Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom – Patroness of the Wyoming Catholic College) award.

Below, I will provide a few pictures of the weekend along with a few quotes from the Commencement Address.  There is such joy present in the students of the College, some of which will be captured here.

Congratulations to the Wyoming Catholic College, and to the Graduates of 2015!


“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek Him, the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement.”  (St. Augustine)


Even though you have your own dreams and visions for your future, know that God’s dream for you is so much bigger!  God desires even more for you.  So, do not be surprised when you discover God’s plans for you are probably greater than your own.


Every life experience has something to teach us.


“There is no such thing as luck in life.  Luck is where planning and opportunity meet.”  (Guy Neil Ramsey)

WCC Graduation 2015 001

Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way.

What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.

It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.  (Fr. Arrupe, SJ)


Mass For Ranchers, Farmers & Families

This notice is way in advance, but I’m very excited about offering a Mass this August for Ranchers, Farmers and Families.  As many of you know, one of my joys of being a bishop is serving as the President of Catholic Rural Life, an organization dedicated to promoting the Church’s teachings on behalf of agriculture, care of the environment, and supporting the Catholic Church in Rural America.

In August, The Diocese of Cheyenne will be happy to host Mr. Jim Ennis, the Executive Director for Catholic Rural Life.  Jim will be present for the Mass in Powell and also give a presentation on the mission and ministry of Catholic Rural Life.  It will be a perfect day to promote the work of Catholic Rural Life as well as to give thanks for another year of God’s blessings upon our flocks, herds, fields and families.

Please make your reservation to attend now and help promote this event!

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Blessing of Crops & Livestock

Today, in the Diocese of Cheyenne, we ask God’s blessings upon our crops and livestock. We pray for all who make their living from the land, that God may bless our labors, and through them, draw us closer to Himself.

Ranch & Wildlife 004Lord God, You are King of heaven and earth.  You are the Word of the Father, and through You He has given us all created things for our support.  We beg You now to consider our lowly position.  Just as You have given us help in our labors and needs, so, in Your most kind mercy, bless our herds of cattle and sheep and all our livestock with a heavenly blessing, and guard and preserve them.  Be so kind, too, as to give us, Your servants, along with benefits that do not last, Your unfailing grace, so that we may gratefully praise and glorify Your holy name, who live and are King and God with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.


We ask You as well, O Lord, to bless the seeds planted in the earth.  Warm it with the gentle breath of soft winds, make it fruitful with dew from heaven, and be so kind as to bring it to its fullest maturity for the good of our souls and bodies.  We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord, for ever and ever.


Prayers from Rural Life Prayer Book






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May 2015
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