Shepherding through Teaching and Example

By: Caitlin Bootsma

Sometimes I think that I’ve been working for the Diocese of Arlington central offices for quite a while – after all, five years is a pretty respectable run, right? However, as we celebrate Bishop Loverde’s 25th anniversary as a bishop, I admit that my years of working for the Church pales in comparison to Bishop Loverde’s commitment and love for the flock he shepherds.
I can honestly say that so much of the reason that the Chancery staff is blessed to work here is because of Bishop Loverde’s leadership. Not only, as the Herald outlines in their comprehensive anniversary issue, has he led us in so many areas, including multicultural ministry, pro-life ministry, evangelization and vocations, he is also a personal example of holiness and love for the Lord.
Bishop Loverde often talks about discipleship, about a personal encounter with God. I see this personal discipleship in my interactions with him. At the beginning of each one of our meetings, he sincerely takes a moment to bow his head and thank the Lord, always remembering to pray for the intercession of the patron saint of my office. When he discusses ideas for pastoral letters or Arlington Herald columns, one can see that this is not just work to complete, but an opportunity for him to share the faith that is so central to his life. One cannot help but be hopeful for our Church when he talks with great enthusiasm about the faith of young people he has confirmed or the seminarians he has visited.

My family with Bishop Loverde at my son's baptism (photo credit: Stacy Rausch)

My family with Bishop Loverde at my son’s baptism (photo credit: Stacy Rausch)

During my time here, I have come to a deeper appreciation of all of the responsibilities of being a bishop. Bishop Loverde so evidently carries in his heart all of the people in the diocese, constantly striving to “encourage and teach with patience” (his episcopal motto).
I am encouraged the most by the example he sets. I often say that there is no way that I could keep up with the schedule he follows – the Holy Spirit must be with him! He travels throughout the diocese, works into the evenings, and still finds time to dedicate to prayer and to greeting each one of us individually, always remembering what is going on in our lives.
On this 25
th episcopal anniversary, I thank God for the shepherd he chose to give the Diocese of Arlington, which He chose to give me. Celebrate by praying for Bishop Loverde, that he may continue to humbly serve and to courageously lead as our shepherd.

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