Thanksgiving in Lent

Catholics can choose to “give up” many things for Lent, but never joy and gratitude. And we have plenty of reasons for both while continuing our journey with Christ to Calvary and Easter.

As the church pauses on March 13 to mark the first anniversary of the election of Pope Francis, we express our thanks for the gift of our humble Holy Father. His example of leadership through service and simple lifestyle have endeared Pope Francis to the world and challenged all to greater love for God as well as the poor and alienated. May God bless Pope Francis and grant him many years of fruitful ministry.

The Diocese of Peoria and all around the world who love our famous native son, Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, were joy-filled and grateful on March 6 when word came that Vatican medical experts had unanimously approved an alleged miracle attributed to Sheen’s intercession. As Bishop Jenky cautioned, there are more steps ahead, but the dream of a possible beatification ceremony in our diocese just took another step toward reality. Imagine that celebration! Better yet, pray for the day.

We are nearing the end of the first-ever National Catholic Sisters Week. By happy coincidence, our annual vocations section appears in this issue. We are thankful for the hundreds of consecrated women whose handprints are all over the hearts of our parishes, schools and diocese. May God add to their numbers.

Our pages contain so many more reasons to be joyful and thankful: the catechumens and candidates who inspire us with their desire to join our church; the 23-year contribution to Bloomington Central Catholic of its retiring principal, Joy Allen; the presence of an opportunity such as the Behold Conference in our diocese; and the success of the state champion girls basketball team of The High School of Saint Thomas More in Champaign. It truly is Thanksgiving in Lent. — Thomas J. Dermody

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