First Annual Cathedral Collection, January 20-21

The Catholic Church is hierarchical because through her God communicates to us his grace and truth, coming to us from on high through his Son, Jesus Christ, the mediator between God and man. The Catholic Church is also territorial precisely because it is a sort of physical extension through time and space of Christ’s Body.

This fits with Jesus command to love our neighbor as ourselves because our first neighbors are always those with whom we live in close proximity, whether we like it or not. In this way also the Church provides a salutary remedy to the excesses of our technological world in which increasingly people are no longer very present in the physical place the occupy, but have their minds and hearts held captive in the nebulous realms of cyberspace.

The hierarchical and territorial character of the Church is given very concrete expression through the structure of dioceses and parishes, embodied in the physical structure of the diocesan cathedral and the parish church.

Each diocese is like the Church in miniature because the diocesan bishop, as a successor of the Apostles and a high priest of the new covenant, possessing the fullness of the sacrament of orders, possesses the authority to teach, the power to administer all of the sacraments, including ordaining priests and deacons, and to govern the Church in his territory.  In a word, a diocese can to some extent stand on its own, while a parish is always dependent on a diocese, just as a priest is dependent on a bishop.

For this reason a Catholic never just belongs to an individual parish, he also belongs to a diocese, and through parish and diocese he is integrated into the Church spread throughout the whole world under the rule of the Pope.

As I said, the life of the diocese as a whole is physically embodied and symbolized in the cathedral church.  Here in the Diocese of Baker, to which we belong, the Cathedral is St. Francis de Sales in Baker City. While the diocesan offices are found in Redmond and while Bishop Cary resides in Redmond, St. Francis de Sales Cathedral remains the mother church of the whole Diocese.  Every year just before Holy Week the priests of the diocese gather there together with the Bishop for the celebration of the Chrism Mass, in which the priests renew their promises and the Bishop consecrates the holy oils that will be used in the celebration of the sacraments throughout the Diocese. The Bishop also celebrates the most important liturgical days of Christmas, Holy Week, and Easter in the Cathedral.

Otherwise St. Francis de Sales Cathedral serves as a parish church, rather like any other parish. Indeed it is far from being the largest parish in the Diocese. That makes the upkeep of the Cathedral Church somewhat of a challenge since the parish itself is not sufficient to the task. Nevertheless, it is not right that the whole burden fall upon the parish, since as a cathedral church, St. Francis de Sales belongs to the whole Diocese.

For this reason, having discussed the matter with the Diocesan Presbyteral Council, Bishop Cary has decided to invite the faithful of the Diocese of Baker to contribute to an annual second collection to be taken up on the weekend immediately prior to the feast of St. Francis de Sales (January 24).  The first annual Cathedral Collection, therefore, will be taken up at all the Masses on the weekend of January 20-21. I invite everyone to contribute generously to this collection, destined to the upkeep and maintenance of our cathedral church, the symbol of our unity in Christ in the Baker Diocese.



Fr. Joseph Levine graduated from Thomas Aquinas College and after a long journey was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Baker, Oregon. He currently serves as pastor of St. Peter Catholic Church in The Dalles on the Columbia River.

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