Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In my first year as bishop of the Diocese of Fresno, I am delighted to participate in my first Diocesan Congress and Youth Day. Through the planning efforts of our diocesan Office of Ministries, with collaboration of many in our parishes and our devoted volunteers, a year of hard work bears fruit in this annual event. It is, from all I have heard, a wonderful gathering for our entire diocesan family to celebrate our faith, share our diversity and learn more about the Good News of Jesus Christ. I am happy to welcome all to share in this wonderful experience with me.
We are all on a journey of faith, as our theme for this year’s Congress reminds us: Already but not Yet! “We are God’s children now”, as scripture assures us (I John 3:2); “what we shall be has not yet been revealed.” In the month of October, when we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), it is most appropriate that we join in this Congress and Youth Day which fulfills the Council’s vision of the Church as the people of God in service to the modern world. Stated so beautifully in the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, “God did not create humans to live in isolation, but in community. We are not individuals set side by side without bonds or links, but rather, we are bound together as a single people with one common inner principle, the Spirit.” (#32) May this vision truly be our experience this weekend in Visalia, and in all we do in our parishes and various ministries throughout our diocese. United by the Spirit, may our journey to the kingdom be richly blessed and bear much fruit for all God’s children.
Through the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary and St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, may God abundantly bless you, your families and loved ones.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+ Most Reverend Armando X. Ochoa, D.D.
Bishop, Diocese of Fresno
Dear Friends in Christ,
It is with great joy that I invite all of you to our 24th annual Diocesan Congress - “Already but not Yet!” Such a theme is fitting as we head into the Year of Faith. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reminds us, “The Year of Faith is intended to contribute to a renewed conversion to the Lord Jesus and to the rediscovery of faith, so that the members of the Church will be credible and joy-filled witnesses to the Risen Lord in the world of today.” We are a diocesan community of saints and sinners, a people on the way, an already - but not yet, a people in constant need of God’s merciful grace and our Congress offers many ways to deepen our faith.
The Year of Faith asks us to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist. “In the Eucharist, mystery of faith and source of the new evangelization, the faith of the Church is proclaimed, celebrated and strengthened.” Therefore, we invite all of our parish leaders, clergy, religious, Catholic school teachers/administrators and all of the lay faithful to participate in the Eucharist Celebration with our Bishop Armando X. Ochoa. Through our workshops and keynotes, our Congress will also offer a special opportunity to deepen our knowledge of the Second Vatican Council and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
With 60 different speakers throughout the weekend and workshops offered in six different languages, including sign language, we continue to offer one of the more diverse events in the country. On Saturday evening we invite our Young Adults to participate in our Young Adult Night offered in English and Spanish and on Sunday we will hold our High School Youth Day.
I want to thank the Office of Ministries staff, Congress committees, college interns, the Diocesan choir, Diocesan Liturgical Commission, and volunteers who have worked diligently to put together this event. We also thank our many sponsors who support us. It is through the generosity of your time, talent, and treasure that we are able to offer our largest and most diverse formation event. Thank you!
I look forward to seeing you in Visalia in October.
Director of Ministries