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Local bishop visits Saint Mary’s

Abby Richardson | Monday, November 6, 2006

Celebrating Mass and answering questions at Saint Mary’s Sunday night, South Bend-Fort Wayne Bishop John D’Arcy cited the importance of love and prayer as he addressed scripture, current events and why he became a priest.

“When the gospel is read in the Church, it is never about past events only,” D’Arcy said. “It is all about love.”

D’Arcy continued to stress the importance of love, referring to Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical “God is Love.” D’Arcy encouraged the congregation to aspire to God’s passionate love.

“Are you capable or are you becoming capable of real love?” he said. “A person who cannot love is a stranger to herself.”

D’Arcy reiterated the story of Christ suffering on the cross. Christ took the sin upon himself, he said, with selflessness. D’Arcy reminded his listeners that Christ showed love to all men, even sinners.

He also emphasized the importance of prayer in everyday life. When asked about how to find balance in life, D’Arcy answered, “Prayer.”

“One of the most wonderful things you can do is learn to pray. Prayer is how we communicate,” he said. “[Prayer] is a conversation with someone who loves us.”

Offering some words of advice, D’Arcy said to enjoy life as well.

“It is always important to learn how to relax, to enjoy life,” D’Arcy said. “Learn when you are young to be alone. You can’t love until you can be alone.”

Students raised questions on subjects often considered controversial in a Catholic context, such as homosexuality.

“Everybody should be treated with dignity. We are all created by God, redeemed by Christ. We should love everyone,” D’Arcy said. “But homosexual acts are sinful. We should never give impressions that homosexual behavior is okay. Because it’s not.”

While he justified the U.S. presence in Afghanistan post-Sept. 11, D’Arcy said he does not believe the war in Iraq is just – it is a preventative war, he said, and the threat was not facing the U.S. directly.

D’Arcy said his parents were instrumental in his decision to join the priesthood, since they provided a faithful home environment and always supported him.

He cracked a joke – “I found out early I could not hit a baseball well enough to play for the Red Sox, so I became a priest” – and then stressed the importance of vocation.

“I became a priest because God wanted me to be a priest,” he said.

D’Arcy also presented the idea that faith changes for a person over time and sometimes, is a struggle.

“As we grow, our faith gets challenged,” he said. “Questioning does not mean you are losing your faith.”