Welcome to the Diocese of Lake Charles

December 2, 2018
First Sunday of Advent

My Dear People of God,

In Southwest Louisiana we are  not  strangers to dangerous situations. We have faced hurricanes and the  catastrophes they bring with perseverance and courage.     Should we  not  face  accompanying challenges in  the Church with the same determination?  With  God's help we certainly can.

I  think of  this when we  meet internal and external threats  to  the Church. From within there is evidence of infidelity to  Church teaching, gross immorality, and violations of trust on  a scale that defies comprehension. This is particularly disconcerting for  those of us who  grew  up in  an environment in  the Church that,  while experiencing challenges, strived to  maintain standards and unity. Of course, the  Church remains the  Body of Christ. Its teachings, which come from  our  Lord Himself, have not  changed. They still  point the way to heaven for us. The   Church is  still · both  a human and Divine  institution  which possesses  a coherent philosophical, theological, spiritual, and cultural  foundation that  lifts humanity  toward God  and away from   self-destruction.  When individuals  in  the Church forget or ignore this, they are  laying the  groundwork for great harm.

From outside, we  have forces that seek to  discredit the  credibility of the  Church, if not  destroy it.     Let us be honest.   The  Church's teachings are not in  sync with many prevailing notions in  fundamental areas like  life,  death, and marriage. Many have succeeded in marginalizing the Church in society.  In certain instances some within the  Church have even  helped accomplish this goal.

And  the  world  that the Church faces and to whom it seeks to  preach the  Gospel is shaken by its  own  formidable challenges.    Technological advances, changes in  communications,  political upheaval, and forceful ideologies rise up to bring us invasion of  privacy, terrorism,  political unrest, uncivil discourse, and confusion.  All things considered, we could easily become disillusioned, but this is not  God's way.

I think of the  night that began out Lord's Passion.    Just  before He entered the  Garden of Olives, when all circumstances pointed to an ominous conclusion, He said, "In  the  world you  will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world" (John 16:33).  This  is Christ's message to us in  the  midst of scandals and  confusion.

With  this in  mind and  following months  of  prayer and   reflection as your bishop, I have decided to issue the decree attached to this letter.  The  Church did  not  help  construct the  civilization of the  last two  thousand years by ignoring our  behavior within  society.     We  in  the  Church  either  transform  society  by witnessing to it or risk being absorbed by society through acquiescence.   We in the Church either act  as a pro-active force  for  good  or  retreat into irrelevance.  For these reasons, this decree seeks to implement in our diocese a program of prayer and worship that moves us more closely to being who we are as Catholics.  In this way, God might more easily work  through us to give good  example to our neighbors and build up the  kingdom of God.    Of one  thing I am  certain: We cannot continue to live as passive bystanders. A change is necessary, and it begins with  the  way we worship and pray.   It is a humble step, but I think a positive one.

Much  of what I propose in the  decree involves parish life and our daily lives as Catholics. In the case of the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, originating with Pope  Leo XIII in  1886, and Eucharistic processions, we are  reaching into the rich treasure of Catholic prayer and  practice.     With   the Ember Days, we  are touching upon a tradition that was  sustained within the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council (cf. General  Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, March 21, 1969, #45).     These proposals lay the  groundwork for changes in the life of our  parishes that, I pray, will be beneficial for a deepening of Catholic life.  This is a beginning; more will follow, and we shall see  where the Grace of God  leads us.

The Devil and the forces of evil, which this iniquitous spirit unleashes, are not  resisted with  a "business-as-usual" attitude, nor  has what some would call a "Catholic-lite" approach ever  proved effective  in facing challenges to the  Church and the  Gospel.  When the  disciples of our Lord  complained that their attempt at combatting a demon was  ineffective, they  asked, "Why  could we not  drive  it out?" (Matthew 17:19, Mark 9:28).  To which our  Lord answered, "But this kind does not come out  except by prayer and fasting" (cf. Matthew 17:21, Mark 9:29).

May our  Blessed Mother intercede for us.   May God  bless our  labors, increase our  faith, and strengthen our  resolve.   May we patiently, hopefully, and confidently rise  to face  this moment of crisis.

With  my  prayers and blessings, I extend also my  gratitude for  your support, as I remain
Sincerely yours in our Lord,

+Glen John Provost
Bishop of Lake Charles




Whereas the Second Vatican Council affirms, "Christ entered this world to give witness to the truth," and "to carry out such a task, the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel" (Gaudium et spes, 3 and 4);

Whereas, in the present moment, the Catholic faithful and their shepherds, the Bishops, are keenly aware that the Church must be fortified by grace to live its mission of proclaiming the truth of the Gospel;

Whereas it falls to the diocesan Bishop to give suitable guidance in such times and, when necessary, to draw from the rich spiritual patrimony of the Church to equip those entrusted to his care with the spiritual tools necessary to meet the needs of their time;

Glen John Provost
Bishop of Lake Charles

DECREES

  1. That the Prayer of St. Michael the Archangel be recited following every Mass;
  2. That every parish church conduct one hour of Eucharistic Adoration each week, excluding the week of 40 Hours Devotion assigned to the parish;
  3. That in addition to the intention for vocations to the priesthood and religious life in the Diocese, 40 Hours Devotion include prayers in reparation for sins contrary to the Sixth Commandment, the healing of all victims of sexual abuse, and the conversion of sinners;
  4. That, in order to foster a further devotion and love for the Most Holy Eucharist, each parish once a year conduct a Eucharistic procession on an appropriate day, such as the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), the Solemnity of Christ the King, the patronal feast day ofthe parish, the feast day of St. Peter Claver, the Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady (the Patroness of Acadiana);
  5. That the faithful follow the universal law of the Church that all Fridays of the year are days of abstinence from meat; although, on Fridays outside of Lent, one may choose another suitable penance;
  6. That Catholics are urged to observe the time honored tradition of Ember Days as days of prayer and fasting; Ember Days are the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday following the First Sunday of Lent, Pentecost Sunday, September 14 (the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross) and December 13 (the Memorial of St. Lucy);

    Given at the Chancery of Lake Charles, Louisiana, on the First Sunday of Advent in the year of our Lord 2018 and effective 1 January 2019.

 

 

 

 

Glen John Provost                              
Bishop of Lake Charles

 

            

 

 

George Stearns
Chancellor

 

 

 


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