So, the Diocese of Providence has now begun the celebration of its sesquicentennial – the 150th anniversary of its founding in 1872. Our jubilee, which will conclude in June of next year will see a variety of activities — liturgical and devotional events, educational and cultural programs, and 150 new initiatives of charity and justice.
The theme we’ve chosen for our anniversary is from Psalm 126 and says, “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.” These few words capture the goal of our celebration: to give thanks and praise to God for the abundant blessings of the past, while also renewing our joy, our faith and our hope for the days and years to come.
That spirit of gratitude, hope and joy is a much-needed antidote for the ills of the present age. We are keenly aware of the problems and challenges that surround us – in the world, in the Church and in our local communities, and we can never ignore the stark realities of the present age. And yet, we as Christians stand bold in the midst of the world to proclaim our hope and joy, virtues borne of our faith in Jesus Christ.
The anniversary is an opportunity for us to remember all the blessings the Lord has given to our Diocese over the years and how he has used the Church as his instrument to serve and bless the community in which we live. Like a lighthouse standing strong in the Ocean State, the Church has inspired, educated, healed, sanctified and served countless souls, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, for 150 years, all in the name of Christ.
We are entrusting our anniversary celebration to the Virgin Mary, our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Providence. Mary will accompany us throughout the year and thus it is fitting that in her hymn, the Magnificat, Mary echoes the words of our theme: “The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name,” the Virgin sings.
Our jubilee proclamation, in the midst of a wounded world, is indeed a courageous and prophetic call, but it’s what the Lord has called us to do; it’s what he has called us to be: a grateful people, a hopeful and joyful people, who live and share the light of Christ with others.
Something to think about: In the Diocese of Providence, let’s never tire of proclaiming that, “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.”