There was something profound about this morning’s celebration. The bishop’s homily was extremely personal and heartfelt. His words provided all of us with the opportunity to reflect upon our own relationship with the Good Shepherd. The grace of God was almost palpable in our midst, and it was a privilege to be present for this simple, but stirring, anniversary celebration.
I was hired as the Director of Pastoral Ministries for the Diocese of Cheyenne prior to Bishop Etienne being named the new bishop. I was hired by the Diocesan Administrator (in the absence of a bishop), and I arrived in Cheyenne about six weeks before Bishop Etienne. Accepting this position prior to a bishop being appointed created a little anxiety in my life. Who would the new bishop be? What would he be like? What would happen if he wanted to revamp everything—out with old and in with the new? (Even though I had just arrived I could be viewed as the “old.”)
As time passed and events unfolded I was grateful that the Holy Spirit had brought me to this place at this particular time. Working with Bishop Etienne during these five years has been a true blessing indeed. As I get a close-up view of the burden of responsibility that a bishop carries, I am more diligent in keeping all of the bishops in my prayers. I realize that criticisms are easy to thrust toward Church leadership, and some of that criticism has been rightly earned over the years. However, I also know that there are a lot of dedicated individuals doing their best to serve God and the church with great faithfulness and fidelity. Bishop Paul Etienne is one of those individuals.
Congratulations Bishop Etienne on your five year anniversary as the Bishop of the Diocese of Cheyenne. Your ministry in the diocese is truly appreciated. This day I offer prayers of gratitude and supplication for you, your family, and all of the people under your care. May the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you!
See Bishop Etienne's own reflection for today at his blog: