Stewards of the Mysteries of God, The Story of the Bishops of Virgina


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Their efforts led to revitalization of the formerly established church in the Commonwealth, which had for several years previously failed to send even a delegate to the Episcopal Church's General Conventions. In , the area around Aldie continued to grow, so a new parish was attached to Meade in , which split off into Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Middleburg, Virginia Johns Parish in Lee in the Episcopal Church.

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Shortly before the Civil War, the church reached almost 8, communicants. From until , in addition to his episcopal duties, Johns served as the fifteenth president of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. In , the finances of the college had been improved somewhat, but remained in a state of upheaval over national and college politics. According to Bishop Meade, the college in "by arrangement with the Episcopal Church of Virginia,.

During the five years of his continuance. Shortly before the American Civil War , —, Bishop Meade announced his retirement and after Bishop Meade's death in March, , a diocesan convention formally elected Rt. Johns as Virginia's fourth bishop.


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The diocese then included the entire seceded state, although proposals to split off portions had been made for during the previous two decades, and ultimately led to creation of the dioceses of West Virginia , Southern Virginia , and Southwestern Virginia He participated in the only consecration by bishops in that church, of Richard Hooker Wilmer to the Diocese of Alabama , held on March 6, in Richmond. The Confederate Bishops' first pastoral letter declared that slaves were a sacred trust.

Bishop Johns spent many long weeks riding through the battlefields and visiting the soldiers in camp—-baptizing, confirming, and preaching. At the age of 70, Bishop Johns rode like a raider—with the great personal risk of his life—to reach the battlefields' wounded and dying. Paul's Church in Alexandria , for which he was seized in the chancel and led off to prison in his vestments.

Wingfield later Bishop of Northern California was arrested, his property confiscated and he was sentenced without trial to three months hard labor as a street sweeper in Norfolk for refusing to take the oath of allegiance, which he only made after Union General Benjamin Butler supposedly threatened to expel his wife and children from Union-occupied territory without money, food or additional clothing. After General Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Bishop Johns issued a pastoral letter advising "prompt and honest obedience to the existing government" and the use of the old prayer for the President of the United States.

He also declined an offer from the national church's Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society to pay salaries to him and his impoverished clergy, saying they all preferred to suffer the same privations as their people. He tried again in , and after two days of debate, the Council agreed, provided it could retain its annual Confederate practice of holding "Councils" rather than "Conventions. Reportedly, when his fellow bishops congratulated him upon the return of the Southern dioceses, Johns said he felt like Lazarus, elaborating "licked by dogs, By , Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria was left "wasted and impoverished by war".

All the funds of the seminary in Virginia bank stocks were completely destroyed in the war. After the war, Bishop Johns became president and also professor of pastoral theology at the Seminary and with some funds bequeathed by his cousin, he began rebuilding the seminary. In , the diocesan Council could not agree upon further division of the diocese, West Virginia having split off as a state as well as diocese during the Civil War.

John Johns

However, it deed agree to appoint Rev. Eucharistic spirituality embraces every aspect of the Christian life cf.


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This is evident in the emerging vitality of ecclesial movements within your Dioceses. The charisms of these associations both reflect and meet the particular needs of our time. By exhorting the members of these movements and all the faithful to listen attentively to the word of God and to cultivate a habit of daily prayer, may your people foster genuine fellowship and create ever expanding networks of charitable solicitude for their neighbours. My dear brothers, I join you in thanking God who calls forth men to serve as priests in your local Churches.

The theologate in Karachi, the programme of philosophy in Lahore and your minor seminaries are vital institutions for the future of the Church in Pakistan. Never doubt that your investment of human and material resources will ensure a solid formation for your candidates for the priesthood.

Generous collaborators are also to be found among members of religious orders who can help to enhance programmes of priestly formation and strengthen bonds of cooperation between religious and diocesan clergy.

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Of particular urgency at the present time is the task of preparing these men — and indeed all catechists and lay leaders — to become effective promoters of interreligious dialogue. They share a responsibility with all Christians in Pakistan to foster understanding and trust with members of other religions by constructing peaceful forums for open conversation. Likewise, other Catholic institutions continue to serve the common good of the Pakistani people.

Through them our pastoral activity can be extended, overcoming barriers and penetrating otherwise difficult environments. The city mission is thus a great school of the lay apostolate in this Rome of ours, and so it is also a school of apostolate for us priests. The special attention the Diocese of Rome is devoting to young people and the youth apostolate this year reminds me of my ministry as a priest and teacher, when I was particularly involved with young people.

That experience has remained in my heart and I have tried to broaden it, so to speak, through the initiative of World Youth Days. I know that you are working hard for and with young people, and I ask you to work with them more and more. To be a true help to young people and to all the lay people involved in the mission, and to live fully our own priesthood, it is essential always to put Jesus Christ at the centre of all our efforts.

But we would be even more correct to say, with the whole of our great tradition, Sacerdos alter Christus. This too is the deepest meaning of his vocation to the priesthood and of the joy felt by every new priest who is ordained. The loss of moral sense, practical materialism, the lack of confidence in being able to discover the truth and also the search for an excessively vague and ill-defined spirituality, all help to form those dechristianizing influences which tend to make our people lose their authentic faith in Christ as the Son of God and our only Saviour.

We ourselves must be alert to the subtle snares that come from our surroundings and risk weakening the certitude of our faith and the fervour of our Christian and priestly hope.

It is therefore all the more fitting that Jesus Christ, his person and his mission should be the principal reference point for the continuing formation of priests. The more we grow in our relationship with him, indeed, in our identification with him, the more we will become authentic priests and effective missionaries, open to communion and capable of communion, so that we may become more concretely aware of our membership in the one Body of which Christ is the Head. But it is also true that Christ leads us to his Mother.


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Mary brings us closer to Christ, inviting us to live her mystery as the faithful Virgin and Mother. In her, in her womb and in her humble and spontaneous devotion, was brought about the great mystery that is at the heart of the Year and of all human history: Totus Tuus ego sum et omnia mea Tua sunt. Accipio te in mea omnia.

Praebe mihi cor Tuum, Maria. I commend myself to your prayers during my Spiritual Exercrises in the Vatican next week.

Stewards of the Mysteries of God, The Story of the Bishops of Virgina Stewards of the Mysteries of God, The Story of the Bishops of Virgina
Stewards of the Mysteries of God, The Story of the Bishops of Virgina Stewards of the Mysteries of God, The Story of the Bishops of Virgina
Stewards of the Mysteries of God, The Story of the Bishops of Virgina Stewards of the Mysteries of God, The Story of the Bishops of Virgina
Stewards of the Mysteries of God, The Story of the Bishops of Virgina Stewards of the Mysteries of God, The Story of the Bishops of Virgina
Stewards of the Mysteries of God, The Story of the Bishops of Virgina Stewards of the Mysteries of God, The Story of the Bishops of Virgina

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