This past week I was meeting with a group of bishop friends who meet once a month via Skype as a support group, who are known as the “Friends of Focolare.” Focolare (the word means “fireside” or “hearth” in Italian, and refers to an ecclesial movement that was founded by Chiara Lubich (from Trent, in Italy) right after the Second World War to witness to peace, unity and reconciliation. It is primarily a lay-led movement and the current president is Maria Voce, who recently let Pope Francis know she was praying for him. The charisms of Focolare are unity and reconciliation. This past week, as we were praying and reflecting together on a Focolare publication titled the “Word of Life” for this month of September, I found these reflections:
“The Word of God has a creative power that produces fruits of goodness in both the individual and in the community. It builds relationships founded on love between each of us and God and among us all. James says this word has already been ‘planted in us’. In fact, the Word of God can transform our daily life into the story of our liberation from the darkness of personal and social evil. However, we need to accept the word personally and consciously, even if it is an ongoing process and we are imperfect and fragile. Our thoughts and feelings will become more like those of Jesus himself. Our faith and hope in God’s love will grow stronger, and we will notice other people’s needs and help them.”
In fact, it is the sentiments expressed above that originally led me to begin to write in Fort Worth my web log entitled “Shepherd of Fort Worth.” I am very grateful for the Communications Department of the Diocese and priests of the Diocese of Fort Worth who were a great help to me in this endeavor.
Eventually, after coming to Orange County, I also began to use “Twitter.” My Twitter following eventually grew to around 6,000 followers. In this past year, I was reflecting on all of the demands that I try to meet with the major Diocesan responsibilities such as the completion of Christ Cathedral, the ongoing work of the Strategic Plan and other pastoral initiatives, not to mention the ongoing life, teaching, worship and governance of the local Church. The work on my web log, which I have enjoyed writing, was not able to be maintained. For all of the above reasons, I decided to take for a while a “technology vacation” from Twitter so I can continue the web log and recapture the intent with which I had begun it. I plan someday to return to Twitter.
With this introduction, I will now try to catch up with some of the places and celebrations that I have been involved with in the past weeks!
Editor’s Note: You can follow Bishop Vann’s blog on the Diocesan website at rcbo.org/group-blog/bishops-blog/