Concluding remarks by Bishop Blase Cupich at the Closing Ritual for Mt. St. Joseph, Spokane
I am honored to be here and grateful for the invitation to make some concluding remarks. I want to make three points briefly,
- We should not ignore or overlook the sense of deep loss that pains the hearts of the Sisters of Providence in this moment. There is genuine sadness and heartache this day, which cannot be minimized or overlooked, particularly as you recall all those happy and joy-filled times with members of your community, fondly remembered in the very touching reflections we have just heard. Yet, let me suggest by way of consolation that by feeling deeply the sense of loss, you are in fact honoring those you recall. Your sadness is nothing less than an acknowledgement in a very public way tonight that these sisters, who shared life here with you, have immeasurably enriched your lives. That is why your feelings at leaving this holy place course so deeply and profoundly in our hearts. Your honoring of them from the depths of your heart is a tribute that any of us would be overjoyed to receive from those who come after us.
- Secondly, you know from your own witness to our Christian faith that loss and death do not have the final word. At this very altar you recalled each day that the greatest loss humanity has ever suffered, rejecting and killing the one sent to fully show us God’s love, was not the final word. Tonight you bring your sense of loss and your sadness in dying once again to this altar, and as you have in the past, you can leave here knowing that this is not the final word. God will continue to work here and in you wherever he leads you.
- Finally, as the bishop of this local Church, I want you to know of my admiration and esteem for the witness of faith you are showing in once again being good stewards of the gifts given to you. You have made a generous decision to see that this much loved place will now take on a new purpose, trusting in God’s Providence, which is a vivid reminder to all of us that Providence is not only a name but a way of life for you. Already, the new life promised to those who join their sufferings to the sufferings of Christ at the altar are visible because of your wise and prudent stewardship. Thank you for that enriching witness.
Yes, this is a day of sorrow and loss, but in that sorrow and loss you honor those you love. And, once again you bring your sufferings to this altar and join them to the redemptive sufferings of Christ from which God brings new life. And, on behalf of all who are here, I want to tell you that we consider it a great blessing and privilege to see through your witness of faith and wise stewardship how your trust in God’s Providence is once again and already being fulfilled in our midst.