Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

12/1/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The faithful of the Diocese of Lincoln have received a tremendous gift from the Lord.

Bishop James Conley is one of those whom I have called "Benedict's Bishops". He was installed as the Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska at 2 pm on November 20, 2012 in the Cathedral of the Risen Christ. His homily, reflecting this holy man, was focused on holiness. Clearly the New Evangelization has taken root in the heart and the ministry of Bishop James Conley.

Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska

Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/1/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Bishop James Conley, Diocese of Lincoln, New Evangelization, dynamic orthodoxy, Pope Benedict XVI, St Gregory the Great Seminary, Bishops, Benedicts Bishops, Deacon Keith Fournier


LINCOLN, NB (Catholic Online) - I make it a regular task to call attention to the wonderful Bishops we have in the Catholic Church in the United States. Benedict the Builder is placing the Foundation stones in place upon which will be built a firm foundation for the Church in the United States. She is being secured and made ready for the challenges we face.

From the beginning of his service to the Church, Pope Benedict XVI has been about rebuilding the Church. When this papacy is recounted in history, I believe that Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic work will be credited with having re-secured the Catholic Church in a time of trial so that she could inaugurate the new missionary age of the Third Millennium. His appointment of Bishops is a key to that entire undertaking.

I believe that Pope Benedict XVI will also be credited with stemming the slide of western civilization into a new paganism. Of course, there is much work to be done. The Church is the only hope to preventing such a slide. She is not some irritant, preventing progress, she is the very path to authentic progress and human flourishing.

In continuity with the 2,000 year teaching of the Catholic Church and helping to ensure that the proper  understanding of the Second Vatican Council within a hermeneutic of continuity, Pope Benedict XVI is re-securing the foundation stones of the Catholic Church in the United States in many ways.

His selection of Bishops proceeds from his unwavering conviction that the Catholic Church - and the message of authentic and true human progress which she offers the world - is what is most needed in this critical hour in human history. Pope Benedict XVI is placing in pastoral leadership over the Catholic Church precisely the kind of Shepherds we need in this vital moment of Church history.

Bishop James Conley is one of those whom I have called "Benedict's Bishops" in my articles over the last year. He was installed as the Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska at 2 pm on November 20, 2012 in the Cathedral of the Risen Christ. His homily, reflecting this holy man, was focused on holiness.

He turned first to his brother Bishops, telling them, "If the Church is to flourish in the world today, if the New Evangelization is to really take root, if we are to truly build a culture of life, holiness must begin with us." He then spoke to his priests, asking for their prayer and pledging his own for them.  He told them, "You were made for greatness. We are all made for greatness. And your bishop wants nothing more from you than sanctity. The Church needs holy priests now more than ever. "

In a beautiful homily on the Sacred Heart, he told all present that "Our sufferings can transform our hearts into the Sacred Heart of Jesus. They can allow us to love as Christ loves". His affirming challenge to holiness was extended to the consecrated religious, seminarians and to the lay faithful whom he reminded, "Your greatest vocation is to holiness. Your holiness can transform the world."

Bishop Conley's appointment to succeed the heroic defender of Catholic orthodoxy, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, was a welcome announcement. He is a true son of the Catholic Church who understands the great gift of the teaching Magisterium. He is unabashedly and uncompromisingly Catholic to the core. Yet, he also has that extra asset so necessary in our age, the gift of evangelical joy.

Bishop Conley is only 57 years old. He is dynamic, spiritually and physically. I met him several years ago when I spoke at the Diocesan Conference in Denver. However, I had followed his heroic defense of unborn children - and admired his courageous support of those who stood on the front line of the Pro-Life effort - for many years.

I was well aware of his dynamically orthodox Catholic Christian faith through the testimonies of people whose lives he had touched with his infectious love for the Lord and His Church. They were always eager to share their experiences. That should be the hallmark of a truly good Bishop,  that the faithful not only love him but bear witness to his ministry in their own lives. 

He also has a compelling life witness. Bishop Conley was raised in a Presbyterian family in Wichita. He hungered for the fullness of truth and entered into the full communion of the Catholic Church when he was a junior at the University of Kansas. It is an interesting fact of contemporary Catholic life that so many Christians from other communities are not only entering the Church but becoming a much needed resource for its genuine renewal.

One has only to look on the bookshelves in Catholic and other Christian bookstores, or check the CD and DVD rack in the back of so many parishes, to see what I mean. "Converts" and "Reverts" (former or fallen away Catholics who return home) have become one of the greatest resources of the new Evangelization in the Church.

They have encountered the Risen Lord and want to live in His Body the Church. They deeply appreciate and understand the gift of the fullness of the Catholic Faith and want to both know the teaching of the Church and live it fully. They are what I call "Catholic by Choice".  

The Bishop entered the seminary four years after he graduated from College and was ordained for the Diocese of Wichita in 1985. He is one of the many treasures of the Church who were trained at Mount St Mary's in Emmitsburg.

He has a deep knowledge of - and devotion to - Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, another noteworthy convert to the Catholic Church. His Episcopal motto is "cor ad cor loquitur," which means "heart speaks to heart". That was John Henry Cardinal Newman's motto as well.

As a priest, Fr. Conley served fruitfully as a College Chaplain and for ten years as an official in the Vatican Congregation for Bishops in Rome.  His Episcopal service to the Church began in 2008 when he was ordained an auxiliary in the Archdiocese of Denver under Archbishop Charles Chaput.

It was during the time he was in Denver that I had the privilege of meeting Bishop Conley. What was immediately evident in the encounter was his deep, personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. He is a man of great personal and pastoral warmth. Immediately upon meeting him you feel welcomed and cared for.

He has a gift of evangelical joy which catches you in its hopeful grasp and shakes any cynicism out of your weary bones. Let's face it, these are trying times and the struggle can wear on you.  When you encounter this Bishop, you just want to be in his presence. The experience reminded me of how people must have experienced Jesus when they encountered him. That should have come as no surprise I guess. This is a truly holy man.  

However, like so many of the episcopal appointments being made by His Holiness Benedict XVI, Bishop Conley possesses that dynamic living faith so vitally important in the times in which we live. He has had that "encounter" with the Lord which Pope Benedict so often addresses. He is, in the best sense of the phrase, an "evangelical" Catholic. In that regard, he reminds me of another great Bishop, the president of the Bishops conference, Cardinal Timothy Dolan. 

So, I was not at all surprised when the new Bishop of Lincoln quoted the Cardinal Archbishop of New York in his homily at the installation: "Last week in Baltimore, Cardinal Dolan put it like this: 'we cannot engage culture unless we allow him to first engage us. And, if we want the New Evangelization to take root, it starts on our knees with the conversion of our own hearts,"

Clearly the New Evangelization has taken root in the heart and the ministry of Bishop James Conley. The faithful of the Diocese of Lincoln have received a tremendous gift from the Lord.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2016
Universal:
Small Farmers: That small farmers may receive a just reward for their precious labor.
Evangelization: African Christians: That Christians in Africa may give witness to love and faith in Jesus Christ amid political-religious conflicts.



Comments


More U.S.

No Phony Truces in the Battle to Block Most Anti-Life, Liberal Court in a Generation

Image of The United States Supreme Court

By J. Kenneth Blackwell

While much of our attention is on the Presidential race, the looming battle over a Supreme Court nomination merits no less attention.  The battle lines are clear in this nomination and the future of the Court and our Constitutional principles are at ... continue reading


Fr Frank Pavone - Amoris Laetitia: Pope Francis' Encouraging Roadmap for Families Watch

Image of Fr Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life

By Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life

Amoris Laetitia is a timely and loving exhortation for families towards genuine charity that begins within the nuclear family. It can be described as a new road-map for a culture that has taken a sad and tragic detour. The Joy of Love recognizes women's ... continue reading


Catherine of Siena: We Need Saints for this Missionary Age Watch

Image of Today, in the Roman Catholic Liturgical Calendar, we commemorate one of the greatest women saints of Christian history, Catherine of Siena.  While praying at Peter's tomb, she experienced the great weight of the Church fall on her shoulders.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Father, raise up women like Catherine of Siena for this new missionary age of your Church. Women who are so in love with you, and so conformed to the Image of your Son, they can do for your Church in this hour, what she did in her own. Saints are a gift for the ... continue reading


Christian student shockingly dropped from master's program for practicing religious rights Watch

Image of Andrew Cash was discriminated against for practicing his religious rights (YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Andrew Cash practiced his religious rights at Missouri State University - and was dismissed from the master's program in counseling as a result. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the Catholic News Agency, Cash was referring same-sex couples to another ... continue reading


Not a newsflash, U.S. government authorized use of propaganda on American people...in 2013. Here's who to blame Watch

Image of Obama signed the amendment into law in 2013.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Does the news seem a little too pro-American to you? Does it seem reporters pull punches and that the real issues are ignored? Perhaps that's the result of a quiet change to the law that took place in 2013. A law banning the use of government propaganda on the American ... continue reading


The cost of incarceration: What can we do? Watch

Image of What can we do about overpopulated prisons and ex-cons' ability to find work (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)?

By Matt Hadro (CNA)

Experts from across the political spectrum are calling for criminal justice reform, as a new White House report shows the human and economic costs of the current justice system. Washington D.C. (CNA) - "This is a singular moment in one of the most challenging issues ... continue reading


Sickening portrayal of Jesus pinned to a dartboard presented as art in university library Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

An appalling portrayal of Jesus plastered to a dartboard was posted up as artwork inside the Art Library at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The "art piece," titled "Vitruvian Man," shows Jesus nailed to the dartboard ... continue reading


Which bathroom should you use? And why is this a question? Watch

Image of Figuring out which restroom to use isn't supposed to be a dilemma.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The American people are seemingly obsessed with public restrooms these days and precisely how people use the potty. The fear is being stoked by concerns that individuals who "self-identify" as the opposite sex, will take advantage of liberal policies and assault ... continue reading


Prayer Is the Path to Real Freedom Watch

Image of Prayer is the lifeline of a Christian

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Jesus said to his disciples: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. CHESAPEAKE, VA. ... continue reading


Why is Obama now sending 250 MORE troops to Syria? Watch

Image of U.S. President Barack Obama will be sending more troops to the Middle East.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

U.S. President Barack Obama announced 250 more special operations forces are to be deployed to Syria within the next few weeks. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -  Obama stated: "Just as I approved additional support for Iraqi forces against ISIL, I've decided to ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 16:1-10
1 From there he went to Derbe, and then on to Lystra, where there was a ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:1-2, 3, 5
1 [Psalm For thanksgiving] Acclaim Yahweh, all the earth,2 ... Read More

Gospel, John 15:18-21
18 If the world hates you, you must realise that it hated me before it ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 30th, 2016 Image

St. Pius V, Pope
April 30: Pope from 1566-1572 and one of the foremost ... Read More