Archbishop Michael Sheehan's Letter

The Arizona Republic [Phoeniz AZ]
June 22, 2003

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I recently celebrated my 20th anniversary as a Bishop. I am extremely happy to serve the Church as the Archbishop of Santa Fe. Never did I expect an additional assignment. But, the Holy Spirit, through the Holy Father, has called me to have the responsibility and joy as serving as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Phoenix.

The Church of Phoenix has gone through difficult times. I am happy to be here to heal, to reconcile, and to focus on the future. My heart goes out to all who are hurting. The victims of child abuse, the family of James Reed, and all who are suffering are in my prayers. I ask for forgiveness on behalf of our church, and I promise brighter days ahead.

On behalf of the Church, I thank Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien for his service. He has been a dear friend and a brother bishop. Under his leadership, the diocese has grown. And now we pray for him in his time of darkness.

As your shepherd, I assure you that our focus will be the pastoral work of the Church, reaching out to our Hispanic community, being an instrument of reconciliation, and being authentically and happily Catholic. We must also be dedicated to the new evangelization to which the Holy Father calls us. We must reach out to inactive Catholics and unchurched persons. We will do these things together, trusting that God has a plan for our church.

Like the Phoenix bird rising from the ashes, the Church of Phoenix will rise to new heights. We will make the love of God more present than ever before by loving each other more deeply. May God bless the work that we do together.

Stay strong in faith, passionate in your love for Christ, and proud of our Catholic community. Always remember, the Lord has promised to be with his Church forever.

Sincerely yours in the Risen Lord,

Most Rev. Michael J. Sheehan

Apostolic Administrator

Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix


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